70-year-old Jasper man training to become a police officer

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - 70-year-old Tom Parker spends his dayon the Angelina College campus pursing his dream of becoming a police officer.

"I just wanted to see if I could do itthat was the number one thing because it's a very tough course," saidParker.

Parker drives from Jasper everyday forthe Peace Officer class and is currently in his 11th week of the 18-week course.

"People thought I was crazy, theysaid there is no way you can finish but I'm going to finish," said Parker.

The 70-year-old says he has been inthe car business for 40 years but he took a leave of absence to pursue hispassion of serving the community.

"The academy is tough you have tohave your mindset, it's like going to a military camp," said Parker.

Officials say the Police Academystarted with about 50 students this semester, now it's down to 24, includingCadet Parker."

"It makes me feel great becauseI've out lasted some of the other people who quit," said Parker.

Academy Director Steven Williamson says Parkeris a unique individual working to give back.

Officials say his age may give him anedge out in the field.

"The older students have a lot oflife experience they can add," said Terri Dollar, Instructor.

Parker says the hardest part of the course hasbeen the paperwork, but after months of training the physical aspect of the jobhas gotten easier.

"I've lost about 17lbs since I'vebeen here, I came in very heavy but I do participate," said Parker.

And with seven weeks to go, turningback isn't an option.

Once he graduates from theacademy, Parker plans on becoming a Reserve Officer for the Jasper Police Department.

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