The Dallas police force will soon have some new men and women on the streets to keep the city safe.
Basic Academy Class No. 353 graduated Friday with 26 officers. The class started training last September, less than three months after the deadly ambush downtown.
“Dallas is the best trained in the country. So, if I'm going to serve I'm going to serve with the best,” said Arnet Brantly, of Jacksonville, FL.
Nearly all of the new officers have at least some college experience. There are also some veterans and at least one former officer. The officers range in age from 22 to 42. Ishmael Camacha is the oldest.
"Being from out of town, being from a foreign place, and being the oldest guy? That's a challenge for me. But I'm taking it!” Camacha said.
Dallas PD cast a wide net for recruits, including Camacha's home of Puerto Rico. But recruiting has been a challenge - with the pension crisis, low morale, and other cities like San Antonio advertising for new hires on DPD's home turf.
Still, some of these recruits are demonstrating loyalty to their home city.
"I'm just proud to be here, and represent women, Latinas, young ladies who came out of areas like Oak Cliff, when you see a lot, I just feel like it pushes you a lot to just serve your community,” said Ariana Paz.
One thing heard from many of these men and women is how one of the darkest days in DPD history became an inspiration.
"The events of July 7 made it firm and I knew this is what I wanted to do,” said Guillermo Rodriguez, of Dallas. “And I wanted to help."
Damon Potts, who came to DPD from Maryland, also cited the ambush.
"After July 7, I could see personally, the community pulling together and kind of surrounding the department with the love that they have for the officers that protect and serve them on a daily basis,” Potts said.