On Friday, January 4, 2019, five new officers were sworn in at the Valdosta Police Department.
Thomas Goodin, Michael Rice, William Smith, George Tatum, and John Wicker are the newest members of Valdosta's police force.
Judge Jim Tunison led the swearing-in ceremony. The officers were joined by their families and VPD staff.
The three were hired on by VPD in August. They started the police academy just several weeks later after participating in in-service training with the VPD training division. In December, Goodin, Rice, Smith, Tatum, and Wicker were certified through the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.). During their 11 week academy, these officers earned awards for 1st and 2nd place in the firearms scores (Ofcs. Smith and Wicker), 1st and 2nd place in the academic scores (Ofcs. Tatum and Smith), and 1st place for the quickest time during the agility obstacle course (Ofc. Wicker). Officer Michael Rice served as the class president and also brought home the session flag, which is a great honor.
The group will start Field Training in one week, which usually lasts for about ten weeks. In total, the new officers will go through close to twenty-five weeks of training.
“When I graduated high school I knew I wanted to do something in law enforcement and I asked myself what I could do to better myself and better the community. I decided to join the Valdosta Police Department because they are the best of the best,” said Officer Goodin.