WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new group of trained law enforcement officers will soon be on patrol in Wake County after graduating from Basic Law Enforcement Training Academy at Wake Technical Community College.
During a ceremony held Thursday, 32 cadets got certificates and awards at the Southern Wake Campus.
Mikayla Stahlbusch was awarded with the highest achievement and the Ryan Hayworth award.
"I'm very passionate about community building community strengthening and I though that this field with its sacrifice was a very noble way to do that," she said.
This is the largest graduation class of new officers in years, according to Wake Tech.
The graduation is taking place as many local law enforcement agencies struggle to hire. The police department in the Town of Kenly ceased operation earlier this summer. In September, the Town of Enfield, the police chief, police captain, and a new recruit all resigned.
Apex Police Chief Jason Armstrong spoke on the struggles they've seen regionally and nationally on recruiting, but the numbers in the class give him hope.
"Back when I got into the profession decades ago it was very competitive. Now we see the numbers of people turning in applications dwindling and so it becomes that much more challenging to provide the quality services that our communities want to see from us that they need and that they deserve to see from us," he said.
The college has offered its BLET Academy for almost 50 years. The rigorous program includes 768 hours of training and cadets are required to pass the Police Officers Physical Ability Test (POPAT), a timed series of search and rescue, physical agility, and mental alertness drills.