Katherine Schwenke always knew she wanted to become a police officer.
The 24-year-old grew up listening to stories her father, a now-retired law enforcement officer, would tell about his time on the force.
After she graduated from University of Nebraska-Lincoln with degrees in bio chemistry and forensic science, she joined the Lincoln Police Department’s training academy.
Twenty-one weeks later and her father, Bruce, was pinning her badge to her uniform Wednesday night.
“I’m an excited type of nervous,” Schwenke said about her first day on-the-job, which starts at 6 a.m. Thursday.
But she has it in her blood.
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“There’s a lot of law enforcement experience in the family,” Bruce Schwenke said. “Some I didn’t even know about until I became a police officer.”
He wasn’t surprised when his daughter told him about her future plans. However, Schwenke was surprised to learn a few things she didn’t expect in training.
“Just how dynamic a situation can be,” she said. “They give you all of the tools, but things can change. We saw that during the officer-involved shooting earlier. You’ve got the tools but there are different ways you can handle every situation and you have to pick one of them in the blink of an eye.”
Schwenke was one of 12 graduates and walked away Wednesday night with her badge and the awards for most improved physical fitness and the highest testing score – 98.08 percent. The class average was 94 percent.
Graduate Mark Hefly received the top shooter award and Keith Knoop was given the award for top physical fitness.
Several other graduates were also pinned by family in law enforcement including Xavier Schwerdtfeger, Scott Chandler, Scott Bierle and Zachary Fallowfield.
Alex Stahl, Colby Dostal, Francisco Cortez, Giselle Armendariz and Brent Lovett also graduated from the academy.
All will spend the following months going through field training before being put on patrol alone.
Reach the writer at 402-473-7395 or email@example.com. On Twitter @LJSNicholeManna.