MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Memphis Police Department welcomed a new batch of recruits to the force Monday.
One by one they walked, heads held high, as the newest recruits to MPD.
"Memphis is a beautiful city. It deserves to have people that really care about it," recruit Brandon Williams said. "Really want to see it flourish."
Williams is one of about 150 new MPD recruits. It's the largest class since 2010. They will go through five months in the training academy before they officially become officers. On average, 20 percent don't make it.
Those that do become officers, will be a welcomed relief for the department.
Right now, the force has 1,970 officers. That's 400-500 fewer than five years ago.
"The number one thing that I can do as mayor is to increase the number of police officers out on the street," Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland said.
Police Director Mike Rallings used to be one of those officers. He knows it's not just police that will make Memphis safer. It takes the entire community.
"Make sure young people growing up know the opportunities," Rallings said. "They're well educated, they're disciplined, and we connect them to services so they become successful."
Williams said he believes he has the dedication it takes to make it as a police officer.
"I'm willing and ready to do whatever we have to do to make sure that when we go on these streets that we're there to protect and serve," Williams said.