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Nine added to Suffolk PD

The streets of Suffolk may be a bit safer tonight.

Nine recent graduates of the Hampton Roads Criminal Justice Training Academy received their badges to become the newest members of the Suffolk Police Department on Tuesday morning.

“We’re real pleased with these officers,” said Chief Thomas Bennett. “We’re going to bring them into Suffolk now and teach them how to police here.”

James Brooks, Nicholas Bolen, John Crombie, Benjamin DeLugo, Nicholas Gasparini, Angela McRae, Clifton Sessoms, Shane Sukowaski and James Winslow were all sworn in as a group and pinned by their friends and family.

Amongst the Suffolk Police Department’s eight core values, Bennett emphasized the most important value for the new officers to cling to is integrity. “Nothing is more important,” he said.

Having graduated and exited the academy, “Now, you move on to your second phase of training — going into the field, applying what you learned academically and learning how we do things here in Suffolk.”

While many companies are making cutbacks, Bennett said he is thankful his organization continues to grow, thanks to the efforts of city administrators.

The addition of the nine officers brings the Suffolk Police Department close to a full complement of officers, Bennett said.

While two to three classes of new officers are sworn in each year, getting nine new graduates in one ceremony is pretty unusual.

“It’s a pretty large group,” Bennett said. “We have some pretty young folks and others with more experience. It’s a good mix, and each will bring their own strengths to the team. We’re looking forward to see what they can do.”