I never thought I’d be able to say those words. I couldn’t be more excited or scared or anxious for him all at the same time. I’m getting ahead of myself though…
I’ve known Tyler since 2009. I was 17 years old and we both had the entire future to think about. He told me on our first date that he wanted to be a cop and that he had wanted that since he was about 10. Now I know all little boys want to be some kind of super hero, whether it be a cop, firefighter, EMT, etc. I also know that as these little boys grow up they tend to lose this idea and pick something based off of their interests. With Tyler, his interests were police officers and the law and the history that came along with it. We continued our relationship and when he turned 21 he started applying to police academies (you have to be 21 to start applying apparently..who knew?).
We were living together and I had watched him apply for countless academies, spend an insane amount of money on the testing, and wait anxiously for his authorization to test. I had seen him go and take the written test and fail by 1 point. I had seen him pass the written test and go to take the physical and miss something on it by seconds. I had seen the heartache and the tears and the feeling of defeat. I also saw the determination and drive that these setbacks gave him. Even though we were living paycheck to paycheck and trying to figure life out, I never stopped encouraging this dream (and I’ll be honest, there are times I wasn’t 100% sure it would happen for him). I watched him study longer, train harder. Finally one day he received the testing information for the NHPD. He passed that test with flying colors and was given the authorization to test for the physical exam. Again, he passed and there was no looking back. He went through the entire hiring process which took months. There were background investigations, reference interviews, meetings with the board of commissioners. He did it all and he was placed on their hiring list. Things got rocky with us and we broke up but he stuck to his guns and didn’t let the bad situation get to him. He started the NHPD academy on October 3, 2016.
The first week he told me was hell. We had gone out to dinner one night and he told me he wanted to quit, it was too much, he couldn’t do it. I looked him dead in the eye and told him no. He had come so far and worked way too hard to quit in the first week. If he wasn’t going to make it it would be due to him not being able to complete something, not because he quit. He stuck it out. Over the next 7 months I watched him gain more knowledge, become more street savvy, become stronger mentally and physically. I listened to him talk about learning the radio signals, taught him how to tread water so he could pass the swimming portion of the class, and heard stories about getting pepper sprayed and tear gassed. I watched his eyes beam brighter each and every time we talked. I saw him go from a civilian to a police officer right before my eyes. 7 months of hell, 7 months of stress, 7 months of developing a brotherhood that I know will be with him forever.
On May 12, 2017 I got to witness that brotherhood take their oath and be sworn in as officers of the NHPD. He won an award for graduating top of his class. He walked across that stage with his head held high as he got his badge. My best friend made his biggest dream a reality that night and it’s only just beginning.
If you ever read this Tyler, know that I’m so unbelievably proud of you. I saw the struggle, I saw the tears and I shared them with you, and I saw you overcome everyone telling you no. I’m proud to be your best friend and honored to have been able to see this dream come true. Be smart, be safe, have fun, and go give ’em hell! No matter what know that I’ve always got your six.