The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

September 26, 2013

EPD swears in six new officers

By Cass Rains, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Six new officers joined the ranks of Enid Police Department Thursday, after being sworn in by Judge Linda Pickens during a ceremony at city hall.

Chief Brian O’Rourke presented each with badges and insignias, while shaking hands and welcoming them to the force after they signed their oath of duty.

Robert Norton, Blayke Hickey, Stephanie Cardwell, Dustin Fitzwater, Robert Hammons and Austin Burkes took the oath, promising to protect the law and residents of Enid. The six will attend the next Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training academy beginning in January.

O’Rourke told the six the badges they were being given were “important pieces of metal.”

“The community expects a lot out of these badges and you,” he told the officers.

Norton, from Orlando, Fla., said his mom and dad moved to Norman in 2011, and he wanted his daughter to grow up around her family.

The 33-year-old said he’s attended a law enforcement academy in Florida, but there weren’t many jobs there. He said becoming a police officer is, “Just something I’ve always wanted to do.”

Norton said he’d like to become a detective for the department.

Hickey, from Owasso, said his father, grandfather and uncle all have law enforcement experience. His granddad is retired from Tulsa Police Department and his dad is a member of the force. His uncle is on the Owasso Police Department.

“I grew up in it,” he said. “A little hands-on experience and how it can  affect your family in a positive way.”

Hickey said he wants to join the EPD Narcotics or K-9 unit.

“I’ve always wanted to do that,” the 25-year-old said, “since I was a little kid.”

Cardwell, originally from Arizona, joined the department after finishing her enlistment in the Air Force, where she served in security forces.

She said she moved to Enid because her husband is from Enid and his family is here.

Cardwell said she’s always wanted to be an officer in a smaller community, because she can have a bigger impact.

“I plan to do my full 20 years,” she said. “I am interested in being a detective or K-9. A little bit of everything.”

Fitzwater, from Kiowa, Kan., said he’s good friends with a police officer in his hometown, and that officer recommended he apply in Enid.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer,” the 22-year-old said. “My grandfather was a police officer. I always heard stories about when he was an officer and it kind of just made me want to be a police officer.”

He said he was interested in the department’s SWAT team and Narcotics Unit.

“I want to move around and see what I like and go from there,” Fitzwater said.

Hammons served eight years in the Marine Corps, with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan during his service.

The 27-year-old from Sulphur said he wants to become a detective with the department.

“If I could, I would like to work a little adult detective and juvenile detective,” he said. “My dream in law enforcement is being a detective.”

Burkes, from Carmen, said he went on a ride-along earlier this year and spoke to a shift supervisor. After that, he applied to be an officer.

“I’ve always wanted to be a police officer, ever since I was little,” the 22-year-old said. “All the tests they give you in high school, it always came out as police officer or law enforcement. Of course, it was right because I love law enforcement.”

Burkes said he’s interested in learning as much as he can about every aspect of being a police officer.

“I just want to get started and be the best patrolman I can be and pay my dues,” he said. “I want to have a wide range of knowledge of the entire department.”