'Tara is surely with us here tonight' Sacramento graduates new class of cops, day after one of their own was killed

SACRAMENTO -- Sacramento police Officer Tara O'Sullivan was shot and killed Wednesday night while responding to a domestic violence call in North Sacramento.

Just 24 hours later, on Thursday night, her department graduated a new class of police recruits.

RELATED: 'She was living her values,' Sacramento mourns loss of young police officer

There were 56 newly graduated police officers-- smiling and shaking hands, wearing their new uniforms and badges, proudly pinned on by family members. But if you look close, you could see the new badges are covered by a black band.

On their first night as cops, these new recruits from Sacramento's Police Academy were thinking of their colleague, Officer Tara O'Sullivan.

"Tara is surely with us here tonight, looking over all of us as she did over our community," said Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, to the crowd of hundreds-- all part of the Sacramento area's law enforcement community.

RELATED: East Bay community mourns fallen Sacramento Police Officer Tara O'Sullivan

Officer O'Sullivan was 26-years-old and originally from the Bay Area. Six months ago, she graduated from the same academy.

Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn told ABC7 news reporter, Kate Larsen, that he knew her well. "I don't think there's a person on this earth who wouldn't say she's a perfect police officer."

Chief Hahn said he saw Officer O'Sullivan a week ago, at a physical final for the new recruits. He says she came on her own and ran uphill for five miles with the recruits, just to show her support.

"She was really really physically fit, she knew how to talk, she knew how to communicate and she knew how to think on her feet," said Officer Thom Panen, a new graduate, who trained with Officer O'Sullivan.

Kate Larsen: "How does it feel to be wearing a black band over your new badge as you graduate?"

Officer Panen: "It's pretty sad. I want to be happy for the recruits, I want to be happy for myself, it's still a pretty somber experience."

RELATED: Police ID suspect accused of killing Sacramento police officer while on domestic violence call

Officer Panen's father, Arnold Torrcampo, loudly cheered for his son as his wife pinned on his new badge on the stage. He says he's immensely proud of his son as he begins his career in law enforcement.

"He wants to serve the community, he wants to make a difference," said Torrcampo, who added, "I told him, just be safe."
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