MILWAUKEE -- More than 60 cadets are getting ready to make a big switch. They will go from being a recruit in the academy -- to a police officer with the Milwaukee Police Department.
"Feels extremely honorable to be a part of not only the biggest, but the best police department in the State of Wisconsin," said Jordon Kunya, a police academy graduate.
This group of 62 recruits has been called one of the most diverse classes to come out of the police academy.
"That's important to actually reflect the community," said Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales.
Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales
Cadets spent months in learning about what it takes to be a member of Milwaukee's finest.
"But I managed to make it through along with my 62 classmates -- and I couldn't feel more proud of them, or myself, that we've finally made it here," Kunya said.
During that time, the department lost two officers in the line of duty -- the first incident of its kind in more than two decades.
"It's sad to say that these recruits had to start their career by losing not one, but two officers in the line of duty in their department," Kunya said.
"We often say that everyday that we go on patrol, it could be our last one. It hits home," Morales said.
Before they went up to the stage to finish the transition to becoming a police officer, Chief Morales stressed to them that despite all the tools they have learned to use in the academy, their biggest asset is their humanity.
"We want police officers to be able to communicate," Morales said.
With the ceremony over, the newly-badged officers are ready to get to work.
"I'm ready to get on the streets, along with my fellow recruits," Kunya said.
Cadets do not have much downtime before their career begins. They will spend the next several weeks shadowing senior officers across the city's seven districts. Only after that is done will they get their permanent assignments.