Sheriff Luna welcomes first LASD academy graduating class and honors 25 recruits injured

He said three of the 25 recruits injured during the crash in Whitter remain hospitalized.

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Saturday, December 17, 2022
Sheriff Luna welcomes first LASD academy graduating class
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He said three of the 25 recruits injured during the crash in Whitter remain hospitalized.

CHINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna was there to watch his first graduating class of the LASD Academy get sworn-in while honoring the recruits who are still recovering from a devastating hit-and-run crash.

The Nov. 16 collision in Whittier injured 25 members of a LASD Academy Class 464, several critically, during an early morning training run.

The driver, Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez, claims he fell asleep at the wheel while on his way to work.

"To the fine men and women of Class 464, our hearts, prayers and support go out to you and your families," Luna announced on Friday at the swearing-in ceremony in Chino.

Luna said three of 25 recruits injured remain hospitalized.

"One of them is still in absolute critical condition and we are doing everything we can to support the family," said Luna. "Mom has asked me to ask everybody to pray for her son. The other two seem to be gradually improving some but we are keeping an eye on all three and their families."

Some of the newly sworn-in deputies shared how they're reaching out to support the recruits who are still preparing for a career in law enforcement.

"We recognize the position they're in and they were in the same position we were. We do those runs all the time," said Dep. Alan Salazar.

"The danger is there. We've also raised money for them so financially, we're there for them, and the recruits were not hesitant to do that."

The 78 deputies and officers who are now officially ready for duty were welcomed into the Southern California law enforcement family, fully understanding what is expected of them.

"We all know this is not a job, this is a calling, a calling to serve," said Dep. Theodore Kozlowski.