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Bullington, Thornton endure COVID-19 restrictions to work with Madison Police

MADISON – Officer Tyler Bullington and Officer Dylan ‘Crayons’ Thornton proved their commitment to adapt to difficult situations to graduate from the state police academy.

Colleagues in Madison Police Department have welcomed the new officers.

“Madison Police Department has a goal of vetting and hiring new police recruits in under 60 days and having them slotted into a full-time police academy shortly thereafter,” Community Relations Officer Teresa Taylor-Duncan said. “This is an arduous hiring process involving PT testing, Basic Ability tests, multiple interviews, medical and psychological testing and an extensive background investigation for each applicant.”

“One would assume that the most difficult part of the process is behind an applicant once they have been offered the job,” Duncan said. “However, for two of Madison’s recent new hires, just getting through the police academy was the toughest challenge.”

Bullington and Thornton both joined Madison Police Department in March. They were sworn in, issued uniforms and gear and soon were enrolled at the Alabama Criminal Justice Training Center in Selma. They expected to spend three months learning the law and basics of police patrol work.

“Unfortunately, after completing the most difficult two weeks of the academy, both Thornton and Bullington were notified that, due to COVID-19 restrictions, the academy would be suspending their training,” Duncan said.

All state police academies have a set curriculum that officials cannot alter or modify in any way. “Training officers to work across the entire State of Alabama, the academies must adhere to the curriculum to guarantee that all officers receive the same quality of training,” Duncan said.

However, if the program must halt for any reason, trainees must start over from the beginning. “For trainees Thornton and Bullington, this meant that two weeks after they began, they returned to Madison Police Department assigned to riding with Field Training Officers,” Duncan said.

In September, the recruits received the go-ahead to return to Selma and once again to start their formal academy training. “With bated breath, along with hand sanitizer and masks, the MPD family sent them back to Selma,” Duncan said.

“Now, weeks later, without fanfare or ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, on Dec. 3 both officers were handed their certifications, bumped elbows with their instructors and came home with a great sense of accomplishment,” she said.

For more information, visit www.madisonal.gov or Facebook/Madison, Alabama Police Department.

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