67-year-old man completes SEMO Police Academy - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

67-year-old man completes SEMO Police Academy

(Source: KFVS) (Source: KFVS)

This story brings a new meaning to teaching an old dog a new trick.

A 67-year-old man received his certificate Friday for completing a SEMO Police Academy. 

John Slayton served as a Marine, worked at an aluminum plant and now at the age where many choose to sit back and retire, he's hitting the streets as a police officer.

As Slayton got up to accept his certificate from the SEMO Police Academy, it showed a sign of new beginnings.

In January, Slayton was one of the 930 Noranda employees laid off after the aluminum plant closed its doors.

Slayton said he had no clue what was next.

"This is the end of the world," Slayton said. "I been laid off before I worked at Bunny Bread in Sikeston before it closed, so it wasn't a completely different feeling, but that doesn't mean it was pleasant."

However, Slayton said, what he DID know was that getting the pink slip from Noranda wasn't the end.

"I was at retirement age, so it wasn't the catastrophe for me as it was for everyone else, on the hand I wasn't ready to be done working," he said.

As an alderman of Canalou, Mo., Slayton said his village needed a law enforcement officer - and surprisingly at 67, he fit the bill.

Reluctantly, Slayton took the challenge and signed up for the SEMO Police Academy.

"What in the world am I doing here!" Slayton said was his reaction when he sat down in class on the first day.

"He asked me, he said, 'can someone my age do this?'," training coordinator Bobby Bollinger said. "And I said 'the only one that can answer that is you.'"

And Slayton did just that – becoming the oldest person to complete the 15-week academy with perfect attendance.

"I am in amazement," Bollinger said. "I am in awe of John, in just how well he did, not only academically, but physically."

Now, Slayton said he plans to be the best police officer he can be for his community.

"The main thing for me is the kids," he said. "I want to make the kids feel safe and cared about."

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