MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis Police Association billboards were the center of controversy this week between the MPA and Memphis mayor. It highlights the deficiency on the force. But, Friday night 31 new officers were sworn in to protect the Bluff City.
With the pinning of his shield and the oath of office, John Liom fulfilled his destiny.
"It's a dream I had when I was in Egypt," Liom said. "One day I was just praying and I had this job in my heart that one day when I come to America I would be a police officer."
Officer Liom fled to Memphis 13 years ago from his home in Sudan in order to escape the ongoing civil war conflict in the country. But he and the 30 other officers join the men and women in blue during a time of turmoil between some Americans and law enforcement.
"It just gives me more motivation to serve the people and also to show that not all police officers are bad," Liom said.
They also join as Memphis' force works to rebuild the low staff numbers coming off Memphis' deadliest year on record.
"I am very optimistic. I would love to get there sooner than later, but you know it's a process," MPD Director Mike Rallings said. "So we are going to continue our recruiting process despite everything that's going on. This is not the first challenge we've had in Memphis and we'll continue to face those challenges head on."
The next recruitment class, which begins in March, has more than 100 potential officers that are hopeful to join the force.