A police officer and his son smiling together as his son plays with his hat.

How to Celebrate a Police Academy Graduation

Every graduation deserves a celebration. Going to school in any capacity involves focused, dedicated work to get a grasp of a field, and this process necessitates long hours of reading, writing, discussing, and practical training. Going the distance—studying well and learning what you need to—is a significant accomplishment, perhaps one others outside your field can’t quite understand.

For graduating police academy cadets, schooling is a holistic and challenging experience. Students must retain vast amounts of complex legal terminology, master the art of investigation, learn the practicalities of report-writing, and meet certain physical standards. This doesn’t just require intellectual knowledge, but also quick problem solving, attention to detail, and strength, endurance, and courage. Because the police academy draws from all these qualities, succeeding in this setting is particularly admirable. To recognize the graduate in your life, here is how to celebrate a police academy graduation well.

Invite Friends, Family, and Others in Their Cohort

As you begin planning, consider how you’ll invite guests. As the coronavirus looms in America, consider how you’ll take proper precautions so you can celebrate without potentially spreading the virus. Deciding on an invitation list is an important facet of this decision because you may need to limit how many people you have and prioritize inviting certain guests.

Also, though you may want to invite Grandma, Grandpa, and other seniors the cadet knows, you may need an alternative way for them to take part—perhaps a video call—so they aren’t at risk. Whatever you end doing, invite everyone (in some fashion) that the graduate wouldn’t want to celebrate without.

Keep in mind other graduating cadets when planning invitations. Because they shared the courses, drills, and general rigors of the police academy, they are likely important inclusions to a party. Besides sharing this time with your cadet, they also may simply be close friends because they bonded while at the academy.

Pick a Venue

As you plan invitations, you’ll eventually consider how many you can fit in a venue. Because of CDC recommendations regarding the coronavirus, hosting a party outside, where the virus has a lower chance of spreading, is preferable. You have many options for an outdoor party. You can reserve a pavilion at your cadet’s favorite state park, hold the party in your backyard with a campfire going, or get creative with something else. While an outdoor party puts you at the weather’s mercy, having something above your heads to block the rain helps.

Decorate With Bad Puns and Police Jokes

Now, when it comes to decorating, you cannot miss the chance to make corny police jokes a feature of the venue. Thankfully, you have plenty to choose from—make each table its own punny theme if you like. Use boxes from your local donut shop as part of a pastry-centric centerpiece, because stereotypes dictate your graduate will eat them constantly until they retire. Deck out another with bee decorations. Your officer may, after all, take part in a few sting operations while on the job. At the next, pile it high with mugs and incriminating early pictures of the graduate, because they’ll be responsible for their share of bad mug shots, perhaps after the perp mugs someone. There’s more—one table can have hay bales for seating as an homage to bailing someone from jail. And finally, pile another table high with their favorite novels, because they will be booking people they arrest for decades to come. Hopefully one of these puns can serve as inspiration for your own decorations, or you can come up with your own hilarious pun instead.

Make Speeches

Speeches lauding the graduate are a staple of grad parties. Carve out time to specifically devote to this. This may, in the end, be the most memorable part for them. Write your own speech beforehand if you like, talking about your graduate’s growth from a young woman or man to who they are today. Wax eloquent on their virtues, the challenges they faced, and how their hardships made them who they are today.

Then open it up to others. It’s precious to hear the patchwork stories from all manner of friends and family as they toast the graduate in turn. You can even give the mic to the graduate for some reflection on their time in the academy and their thoughts looking forward to life as an officer. In all, these graduation speeches are occasions for lovingly looking back and remembering.

Make a Special Cake

Another important facet to celebrating a police academy graduation is the dessert you serve. Whether you buy it from the store or bake and decorate it yourself, there are many ways you can customize it meaningfully. For the base layer, don’t forget to bake a flavor your graduate likes, of course. Topping everything off with frosting and decorations featuring a police officer uniform is a quality option, complete with a radio, detailed badge, belt, classic officer sunglasses, collar, and even handcuffs. Your color can vary based on their future precinct’s colors, but gray, a deep navy blue, a lighter blue, and black are all possible color bases. Some bakers prefer to home in on one aspect, such the badge or the classic police hat with visor.

A Thoughtful Gift

The pièce de résistance of your grad party is the gift you give. Finding an appropriate gift, one that isn’t kitschy or boring, takes some prep work.

Talk to an Officer

For one, you can connect with veteran officers you know for suggestions. They are a veritable wellspring of ideas because they know what it’s like to begin serving. They remember what they needed, their initial bad habits and how to prevent them, and more. They can suggest gadgets and tools that help with their job and make their shifts more comfortable and enjoyable.

Get a Beautiful Custom Plaque

If you don’t know an officer, though, you aren’t without guidance. To make your gift personal and meaningful, design a custom police academy graduation plaque they can keep on their desk forever. A plaque is a direct reminder of their time at the academy and the accomplishment of graduating. What’s more, you can include a scripture passage or quote that the newly minted officer appreciates; it will remind them of their core values and motivations.

Gift Cards

When all else fails, gift cards are still a great gifting option. Because one downside to police work is the long hours in the car, getting them gift cards for restaurants and coffee shops in their patrol area help make life easier as they begin their work.

How to Celebrate a Police Academy Graduation

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