Philip Duffy spent his life preparing for Wednesday morning.
When he was younger, he was in the Metropolitan Police Department’s explorer program, he said. Then he studied criminal justice at Southern Utah University and served in the military.
On Wednesday, the 29-year-old was one of the first 12 recruits to graduate from the Henderson Police Department’s new in-house academy.
“We all came to this academy as individuals possessing our own unique skills, traits and experiences,” he told attendees in a Lake Las Vegas hotel ballroom. “Today we leave as one team, one family.”
Before Henderson started its own police academy, the department’s recruits attended the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy with other agencies.
The idea for Henderson to create its own academy came up about two years ago, according to Lt. Bryan Hartshorn, who oversees training. He said considering the growth of the city and the number of officers it was hiring, the department felt it was time to open its own shop.
“It’s a huge undertaking,” Hartshorn said. “It’s the biggest training that you can put on as a police department.”
Chief Thedrick Andres said it is important for Henderson to be able to train its officers how it wants.
“Obviously, working in our community, our citizens have a certain expectation from their law enforcement department, and I think it’s very important that our officers understand that community’s expectation,” Andres said.
The department’s first recruiting class began in June. Its second class is underway.