STERLING, Va. (WUSA) - It's been thirty years since Alexandria's first Deputy Sheriff was killed in the line of duty.
Today his son is following in his father's footsteps.
It's graduation day at the Northern Virginia Criminal Justice Training Academy. After six months of 2 a.m. wake-up calls, workouts, and getting pepper sprayed, 31-year-old Kevin Truesdale is ready to graduate.
He says, "It's been intense. It's definitely been a roller coaster."
For Truesdale, it's a family tradition.
His father, William Truesdale, was also an Alexandria Deputy.
But Kevin never knew his father.
He was killed when he was just six-months-old.
In 1981, Kevin's father was escorting a prisoner from the Alexandria courthouse to the old jail. That's when the prisoner grabbed his gun, shot him, and killed him. The prisoner was caught, convicted of murder, and executed in 1990.
Last year, the Alexandria Jail was renamed in his honor, the same day Kevin was sworn in as a Sheriff's Deputy.
He's had his badge.
But today, he gets his diploma presented by Mom.
He said, "It's just a feeling that I can't really describe. It's so many different emotions: sad, happy, excited."
His son - Kevin Junior - watched in the audience.
"That's my motivation of putting this uniform on and coming home," Kevin said.
When he gets there, Kevins has one rule.
His mother said, "Oh he knows. There's only one! Call me everyday you get home."
Despite the concern, she's proud. And she has no doubt Kevin's father would feel the same.
"He would be speechless. He would be the one on stage giving that diploma and smiling," he said.