The Corpus Christi Police Department welcomed its newest officers ready to serve the community Friday, but with a population of close to 350,000 and growing, more graduating classes are needed.
"We need to grow, and there is a growth plan -- we're working on that right now," said CCPD Chief Michael Markle. "Right now, full staffing is 451, but we're with the city manager to grow our department."
Out of 800 applicants, only 30 made it through the rigorous process to make up Friday's graduating class.
These men and women went through a series of background checks, interviews, physical assessment, drug screening and training to become Corpus Christi Police officers.
"It feels amazing. It was definitely really challenging but we pulled through," said new officer Juliana Torres.
The skills they've learned, and the training involved, is something they will all rely on. It could be the difference between life and death.
"It's a really big deal for safety," said Torres. "Always have your head on a swivel, and make sure of your surroundings."
Each academy is typically 25 cadets, but with a demand for officers, that number increased to 30. Next year, it will grow again to 35.
And after reciting their oath read by Judge Missy Medary, the 30 cadets became Corpus Christi's newest men and women in blue.
The department is currently taking applicants and will hold another academy, which lasts seven months, next July. To apply visit the CCPD website at www.cctexas.com/police