There was no hiding the somewhat strange tone inside Christ Chapel Bible Church Friday morning.
As 38 of the Fort Worth Police Department’s newest officers lined up to get their badges and graduate as the academy’s 139th class, many minds were clearly with their neighboring officers in Dallas, just a little more than 12 hours after the tragic shootings that killed five.
"What happened in Dallas yesterday was a vicious and reprehensible attack,” said Fort Worth Assistant Chief Adbul Pridgen speaking to the crowd of hundreds there for the ceremony. "This is a sad day for Dallas, for Fort Worth and for North Texas."
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Several speakers at the event brought up the shooting and encouraged unity in the community in the shadow of the tragedy.
Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald encouraged the cadets to take on the challenge ahead and work to bridge the gap with the community.
"You all are tied to an event that will not only stay with you for the rest of your careers, but will also serve to define how police are viewed in this community,” said Fitzgerald.
As the new officers’ loved ones pinned their badges on their chests for the first time, many exchanged hugs, some tears, as their first police shields came covered in a black stripe for the fallen.
However, few showed fear in the wake of the tragedy, most just ready to step up to the challenge ahead and unite with their new brothers and sisters in blue at a time when they need unity more than ever.