More than 40 recruits of the San Jose Police Department graduated Friday and are on their way to joining the force after completing what is considered a grueling six-month course.
The ceremony for the 43 graduates took place in downtown San Jose Friday afternoon.
"Very, very excited. Its been a long 6 months but at the same time, it seems it really flew for us," graduate Marcnell Palacio said.
It's been awhile since San Jose has held one of these graduations.
Since the last one, crime in San Jose has reached a record high and morale in the department has hit a record low.
More than 130 officers left the force last year, either through retirement or going to other departments. Many of those who left said it was because they were frustrated with decreasing pay and benefits.
"We’ve been through very difficult times. So its very understandable that our employees have become upset. There’s a lot of uncertainty. We all love our city," city manager Debra Figone said.
Figone said she hopes the police department is turning a corner.
Those graduating from the school's Basic Academy course have passed a rigorous 880-hour plan of study that takes six months to complete, said Gregg Giusiana, the academy's director.
"It's quite an accomplishment to graduate from a police academy," Giusiana said. "You have to pass every test. If you don't pass a test, you get to take it again and if you don't pass again, you are out."
The academy's course fulfills the minimum training requirements of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, needed to become a member of a public police agency in the state, Giusiana said.
Among the things recruits must pass to graduate are a physical agility test that includes a 500-yard sprint, a writing and reading test called the Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery, a personal interview and a background investigation. Only two people who had been admitted to the academy this session left during the six-month training period, Guisiana said. "That's remarkable," Guisiana said.
"San Jose did a great job recruiting." During the course of study, the students took classes in topics such as criminal law, patrol procedures, cultural diversity, investigative procedures, firearms, leadership, traffic enforcement, handling emotional situations and first aid/CPR, according to the academy's website.
Bay City News contributed to this report.