Reservists graduate from HPD Police Academy

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Phyllis Keith
  • 624th Regional Support Group Public Affairs
Two reservists from the 624th Regional Support Group graduated from the Honolulu Police Department's (HPD) Training Academy in a ceremony held at McKinley High School auditorium in Honolulu, Feb. 11.

Tech. Sgt. Celsa Salazar, a personnelist with the 624th RSG, and Tech. Sgt. Justin Smith, an air transportation specialist with the 48th Aerial Port Squadron, received their badges and guns, and took the oath to become police officers in front of family and friends. Both said a career with HPD goes hand-in-hand with their Air Force Reserve duty and their commitment to service before self.

Salazar said that she had always wanted to serve in some capacity, so she started with the Air Force and its global focus. She said that police work was a different level of serving the public. "You're serving the community. You're going to be seeing them every day," she said.

Smith said he had wanted to be a police officer since he was young. He said, "From 2002 to 2006, I was active duty in the Marine Corps and then I got out, took a break in service and joined the Air Force Reserve in 2009." He said becoming a police officer was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

As part of HPD's 178th recruit class, Salazar and Smith underwent 22 weeks of intense classroom and hands-on training at the police academy.

Salazar said she liked the survival training. "We actually got tactical with maneuvering, busting down doors, tactical movements to get in and do what you have to do and get out."

Smith said the firearms training was his favorite part.

According to the Department of Defense, police officer is the most common occupation of National Guardsmen and military reservists.

Chief Master Sgt. George Silva, III, chief of operations for the 48th APS who works fulltime on HPD's bomb unit, said that military members made successful cops because they not only understood the importance of following a chain of command, but they brought good attitudes, work ethic, and discipline to the job.

Smith said his fellow reservists who were police officers told him to work hard, prepare himself mentally and physically, and be ready. "I got all the advice I could about training and what to expect," he said.

Both Salazar and Smith will be paired with veteran HPD officers for an additional six months of field training. As reservists, they will continue to drill one weekend a month and two weeks a year.