David Chanthavong, who recently joined Hyattsville’s police department, addressed the city council on October 24, soon after receiving the Outstanding Student Officer Award from the Prince George’s Community College Municipal Police Academy.
I am 25 years old. I was born in Thailand but my parents are originally from Laos, and I’m the youngest of six children. I speak Laotian and English. I am a new police officer in one of the finest departments in the state of Maryland, the Hyattsville City Police Department.
At the age of 14, I was fascinated at the prospect of a police career because of a personal experience I encountered. My family’s house was broken into and my mother desperately needed help. The police responded quickly to assist her. From that day on, I had respect and love for the men and women putting their lives on the line to protect the citizens of this nation.
My desire grew over the years. A Montgomery County police officer came to my high school to recruit students for the Montgomery County Police Explorers program. When I joined the program, it helped me better understand the career of policing.
Most importantly I was able to receive hands-on training from volunteer advisors who came out on their personal time to train us. I went on to intern at the Rockville City Police Department at the age of 18, and it was an honor to be a part of a hard-working team dedicated to serving their community.
While interning at the department I went to Montgomery College in Rockville, where I received an Associate of Applied Science in criminal justice. I strongly believe in continuing education and promised myself that I would go to back to school when I finished with my field training.
The doors finally opened in March 2011, when I was hired by the Hyattsville Police Department. I was so excited when I got confirmation that I was being sent to the Prince George’s Community College Municipal Police Academy in April. I found it to be a good learning environment and it was challenging in academics and physical training. I graduated recently from the academy and my whole life has changed in a positive way.
I was awarded outstanding student officer. This award was established to honor police officers everywhere who dedicate themselves to the ideals of integrity and professionalism. It is earned by the student who successfully demonstrates the qualities of leadership, perseverance and scholarship, which are the hallmarks of a dedicated professional law enforcement officer.
With this award, I will continue to show my department and community that these traits are forever instilled in me. I am now a police officer who has the responsibility to uphold the law and to protect lives and property in the community.
I again want to thank […] my department, Hyattsville City Police, for their genuine support.