HUNTSVILLE — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall gave a powerful speech to Huntsville's newest police officers on Friday. Other speakers included Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle and Huntsville Police Chief Kirk Giles.

Battle reminded the officers they were "becoming officers in the best police department in the nation."

Marshall opened his speech by saying, "I can tell you there is no greater opportunity for joy for me than to be able to attend a Law Enforcement graduation.”

Marshall praised both Battle and Kirk in his speech.

"I don’t know another mayor in this state that is more supportive of Law Enforcement, and that’s not just through his words, but by his actions. He gives you the resources to be successful,” he added, "You also have a chief who, besides his family and his faith, cares desperately about the men and women in which he serves. You could tell by his voice as he shared his own personal feelings about the value that you bring with the opportunity that is before you. You’re blessed to be able to serve under his leadership. I can tell you he is a man of excellence. He will hold you accountable, but he will support you 100% in allowing you to be successful. You’ve chosen well, and I’m excited about what your day after today will bring.”

Marshall also thanked the families and recognized their sacrifice, saying, "[O]n behalf of the state of Alabama, I thank you for giving these cadets to us. Because we understand, having been in law enforcement now for me longer than most of these cadets have been alive, It is a sacrifice for you to allow them to do this work. To be able to allow them to follow this calling, and I am grateful for the fact you are sharing them with us because we are the beneficiary.”

The attorney general also thanked and commended the cadets for their hard work and relentless drive to make it through the 19 weeks of training, saying not just anybody could walk off the street and say they want to be a police officer.

“We call this a graduation because of those 19 weeks that you have spent entering into a profession," he added.

Echoing the chief, Marshall explained his "why" for wanting to be in law enforcement. He said it was from a case involving a young child who unfortunately passed due to blunt force trauma from severe child abuse.“ I don’t mind saying that I cried, after what I saw and what I knew that young boy had endured in his young life," he recalled.

Marshall added, "You saw the worst of the worst, a baby who was taken from us, who was completely innocent. It makes you question what could go on in society that allow this to happen? One of the things I quickly realized, at that moment, is that I had the opportunity to make it right… In a moment of great sadness, I was never more motivated to do my job of seeking justice than at that time and at that place.”

Marshall reminded the cadets that they are held to a higher standard and must set the standard as law enforcers.

"Not only does this community deserve that," he explained. "But the officers with whom you serve, and those officers who came before you deserve that – I know that you will.”

Marshall concluded by telling them of their reward for coming into law enforcement. He advised that the city pays better than others but noted that isn't the reason for going into law enforcement.

“I am not telling you something you don’t already know, but unequally, by agreeing to protect and serve," he outlined. "You have something most don’t have, and that’s going to be a legacy. A legacy of impact that will live long after you."

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