HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — 40 new recruits just began their journey through the Henrico County Police Academy.
It is the department’s most diverse group of recruits. There are 30 men and 10 women from diverse backgrounds.
“I was born in Iran and moved to the states in 2007,” explains Ardalan Azimi.
After graduating from VCU, the 24-year-old spent time as a sales manager at his family’s car dealership. He says it taught him valuable life skills.
“I’ve always wanted to do law enforcement so I decided my time was kind of over there and time to do my own thing.”
Vercell Johnson is a 22-year-old from Richmond’s southside.
“I’m ready to step forward and put forth everything that I’ve got,” says Johnson.
His story is chilling.
“My father,” Johnson explains, “He was killed by a police officer in front of me and my family.”
But that traumatic memory hasn’t overshadowed the young man’s desire to make a change in his community.
“I’m trying to be the best police officer there will ever be.”
Recruit Rory Brill is a former marine who decided to hang up his boots after the birth of his baby girl.
“I served my country for seven and a half years, so now it’s time to serve a smaller community,” says Brill.
His father was a police officer.
Jackie Mashburn just graduated from VCU where she studied Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness.
Mashburn says having a day that’s always changing is what attracted her to policing.
“But more importantly,” Mashburn explains, “I want to be able to be a police officer that makes a difference in the community.”
They are just four of 40 who will spend the rest of the academy training to be one team.
8News will follow these recruits throughout the academy until they graduate in February.
Look for updates on their stories on air and online.