'The Door' Reminds Longview Officers Of Life's Fragility

The newest class of recruits dedicated to protect and serve have graduated from the East Texas Police Academy.

After completing the grueling 16 week training period, 26 cadets received their diploma's today in the 258th Basic Peace Officer Academy in Kilgore.

8 of those graduates will be joining the Longview Police Department, and learning about an important piece of department history. As KLTV 7's Bob Hallmark shows us, the recruits will be trained first in the sacrifices of past officers through a permanent memorial called 'The Door'.

Walking through the LPD hallway, you come to a door - a red door that seems out of place - but a door that has profound meaning to officers here.

"It is a reminder that our job is dangerous," says Chief McCaleb.

It was January 1984 when Sergeant Randy Davis, working a narcotics search warrant at a hotel, was shot and killed at the same door.

"Sergeant Davis was a seasoned well trained professional," said McCaleb today, "and yet for one lax moment of time in that kill zone, it cost him his life...My last official motor assignment was to lead Sergeant Davis' funeral."

"You hear of Mr. Davis and it kind of brings you back down to earth," said new Longview Police Officer Bennie Cooks.

When rookie officers ask about it, they're given a lesson in how fragile life is.

"We had really thought about making it the actual squad room door so that they'd put their hands on it every day before they go out to work," said McCaleb.

"I was a little shocked," said Stephen Burt, a rookie LPD officer. "It really hit close to home."

It's a constant reminder of the dangers that lie in law enforcement, one that the chief doesn't want his officers to take lightly.

"Law enforcement is a just a very dangerous job and this door is just a reminder of that," said Cooks.

"I think about my fellow officers and helping them get home, helping myself get home," said Officer Burt.

"And what it's for is to remind the officers every day before they go out on the street of their fellow officer that was killed," said McCaleb. "I never forget Sgt. Davis."

Randy Davis was just 28 when he was gunned down in the line of duty.

The door was donated to the department and put on permanent display in the briefing room in 2004.

Bob Hallmark, reporting. bhallmark@kltv.com