Keith Shimada / Special to the Sun
Thursday, March 12, 2009 | 5:23 p.m.
Since he was a boy, Michael Kenny always knew what he wanted to do when he grew up. Today, those childhood dreams came true when a badge was pinned on his chest and he became a police officer.
"Ever since I was about 3 years old I knew I wanted to be a police officer," said Kenny, who is with the Henderson Police Department. "Each day is going to be different. It's something I've always wanted to do."
Kenny was among 35 recruits from five agencies — Henderson Police, North Las Vegas Police, Clark County School District Police, Nevada Department of Wildlife and the Nevada Attorney General's Office — who graduated from the Southern Desert Regional Police Academy.
The graduation ceremony was held this morning at the Horn Theater at the College of Southern Nevada Cheyenne Campus, 3200 E. Cheyenne Ave., in North Las Vegas.
The recruits went through a 20-week academy that included more than 775 hours of academic and practical training on police ethics, criminal law, defensive tactics, firearms, principals of investigation, community policing and driver training.
"This feels great," Kenny, one of 13 Henderson recruits, said after the graduation ceremony. "It's been a long road."
Most of the training took place at the College of Southern Nevada Henderson Campus. As part of the program, each recruit experienced first-hand the effects of being shot in the back with a Taser and being pepper-sprayed in the face.
"The Taser hurt more, but it was over in a few seconds," Kenny said. "The pepper spray stays with you for four to five hours, even after you wash it out."
Mario Olsson, a new officer with the North Las Vegas Police Department, said he'll never forget the first inspection that kicked off the program. "We contributed to the Earth's rotation with the amount of push-ups we did that morning," Olsson said.
The next step for the Henderson Police recruit officers is four weeks of advanced academy training and completing a 17-week field training program.
Kenny, a native of Michigan, said he moved to Las Vegas only a week before the training began to pursue a career as a police officer. The economy and employment opportunities in law enforcement were better in Las Vegas than in his home state, he said.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.