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Former Police Explorer sworn in as CPD officer

Kenyatta Davis-Barnes achieved his ultimate dream Monday when he was sworn in by Mayor Ronnie Johnston as a Covington Police Officer.

“I knew what my career goal was so I started looking at avenues to achieve it,” Davis-Barnes said. “I have a lot of family members in the law enforcement community and I see the difference they make every day. They protect, serve and are a part of their community. That is what drew me to the profession.”

Born in Brooklyn, Davis-Barnes moved to Covington in 2009. He heard about the Covington Police Explorer program from a friend and decided to give it a try.

The program offers teenagers a chance to learn about law enforcement practices while developing leadership and life skills, Explorer Commanding Officer Allan Seebaran said.

“We want the people that come through our Explorer program to be more marketable to employers when they complete our program,” Seebaran said. “It doesn’t matter if they want to be a law enforcement officer or not, we want them to be a better, more responsible person when they leave than they were when they enrolled.”

Seebaran recalls his first impressions of Davis-Barnes and knew he possessed the qualities the police department looks for when hiring officers.

“He was very well spoken,” Seebaran said. “He was motivated and committed. I knew he had restaurant management experience and he was just a teenager. I had no doubts he had a very bright future.”

Rising through the ranks of the Explorer program rapidly, Davis-Barnes became captain before earning the highest rank -- major. After spending four years in the Explorer program, Davis-Barnes was went to work in customer service at the police station. He knew it was a great opportunity to get on the inside track for employment as an officer.

“Kenyatta was the perfect person for our customer service department,” Seebaran said. “He had all the qualities I mentioned and after spending time in the Explorer program, he had an excellent understanding of how we work and was familiar with the City of Covington.”

After nearly a year of answering telephones and assisting citizens via telephone or behind a desk, Davis-Barnes finally got the call he had been working towards his entire life.

“We had a position open up for a patrol officer and because of my interactions with Kenyatta through the Explorer program, I was able to personally recommend him,” Seebaran said. “His time as an explorer certainly helped him get hired and we are proud of his accomplishments.”

Davis-Barnes completed the 11 week course and graduated from the police academy on March 18,. He is receiving three months of field training under the mentorship of a current Covington Police Department officer. When he finishes that training, he will be given a vehicle and a shift.

“I thought about practicing law,” Davis-Barnes said. “But I really want to be on the other side of the action. I thought I could make a bigger difference if I was able to help people before it went to a court room.”