MODESTO, Calif. — A few dozen newly sworn in police officers are ready to hit the streets across the Central Valley.
37 recruits graduated from the Stanislaus Sheriff Regional Training Center Friday afternoon.
Of the graduates, 14 are now sworn-in deputies for the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office. The rest are heading to the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office, the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, the Merced County Sheriff's Office, the Modesto Police Department, the Turlock Police Department and the Ceres Police Department.
"It was a big goal of mine growing up, and I just had a big inclination to want to help people," newly sworn in Deputy Peter Rodriguez of the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Office said.
For 23-year-old Deputy Rodriguez, this has been a long time coming.
"It's the end to a long journey of getting here," he said.
He worked his way up from the explorer program, the correctional academy and even spent some time working as a Custodial Deputy at the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department before going through this academy.
This process hasn't been easy, these recruits have been going through this academy for five months now Monday through Thursday.
"There were some struggles in the academy," he said. "At points I thought I might fail out on things but I just kept pushing through, trying hard doing my best and at the end of it all, I'm here now."
Others in this class spent time in the military before being sworn in on Friday.
"I feel like I was put on this earth to protect people and to help people out when they need it most and the Army built me up for it and now I'm here to do it at home," Deputy Christian Favela of the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office said.
Deputy Favela has spent the past five months commuting an hour and a half everyday from Tuolumne County for this academy.
"Ever since I saw my brother put a badge on, everything that guy does, I want to do, so he's my idol in life," he said.
These 37 new officers are coming into law enforcement at a difficult time, while their community is still healing after multiple line of duty deaths. Cpl. Ronil Singh and Deputy Tony Hinostroza killed within just a month apart of each other late last year.
"It's something that sits in the back of my mind at times, I obviously know that it's there, my family knows that it's there, but this is also a career I could never see myself not doing, I could never see myself doing anything else," Rodriguez said.
They say they're taught the grim reality of putting their lives on the line from day one in the academy.
"There's a job that has to be done and it takes a special breed of person to do and I feel that all 37 of the people that are walking the stage today are those people and they're going to make a difference and do what they know is right," Favela said.
Vowing to protect their communities, all of these brave officers will go on to spend the next three months doing field training.
"Some people, it's the hardest thing they've ever done in their life, but it's for the better, it's for the greater good and they're going to be amazing police officers because of it," he said.
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