Austin Police Department gains dozens of new officers
The day after a tragic shooting in Dallas, the Austin Police Department welcomed a new class of cadets.
The graduation ceremony was a mixture of celebration for the new officers and remembrance for the fallen in Dallas.
The Austin Police Department took some extra steps to make everyone feel safe at the graduation.
Officers in tactical gear guarded the Great Hills Baptist Church where the ceremony was held.
Police said it was only a precaution and there were no threats leading to that decision.
The department gained 37 new officers Friday evening, but their graduation was somewhat overshadowed by the loss of five of Dallas' finest.
APD administrators made sure those fallen were not forgotten while celebrating the new additions to the force.
The 133rd cadet class just finished 32 weeks of training.
As they pledged to serve and protect the community, their families couldn't help but hope those wearing a badge would also be protected.
"For me, what I'm going to tell them is don't see this as a challenge, see this as an opportunity. An opportunity to make a great profession better," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.
"I think the last eight months has kind of prepared us for events like last night. We know what we're signing up for when we sign up for the academy and it's an amazing department. They spent the last eight months training us and preparing us for the worst, for events like last night, so we've had that mentality for the last eight months," said APD rookie officer Lee Travis.
Acevedo said recruitment numbers in the city are actually up right now, but tragic events like the shooting of five Dallas officers can have an effect on how many sign up to wear the uniform.