SALT LAKE CITY – Thursday they were recruits, but, on Friday, members of the 135th class became Salt Lake City police officers.
The transition happened Friday during a swearing-in ceremony, and the 135th class includes four women—one of whom has a master’s degree and another who was formerly a sergeant with the Utah Highway Patrol.
Three of the new officers speak Spanish, two are firefighters and one is a former Navy Seal combat medic. All of them just completed nearly 6 months of intensive training and are about to begin their first shifts on the job.
Mayor Jackie Biskupski had a simple message for these new officers.
"Thank you to all of you: Thank you for protecting us, thank you for being strong enough to improve, learn and grow,” she said. “Thank you for being leaders in our community and role models for our young people."
Newly sworn-in officer Amy Novoa said she knew she wanted to be a cop since high school.
"I joined the explorer program when I was about 16, I believe,” she said.
Despite the fact that, in Utah, police work has historically been short on women and minorities, Novoa chased her dream.
“And me, being of Hispanic decent, it's truly an honor because I get to serve the people who speak the same language as I do, the people that I’ve grown up with, the people I’ve gone to school with, so really it is such an honor to work here in Salt Lake City,” she said.
Novoa said she knows about the negatives that sometimes go with the job, like the potential dangers and public scrutiny, but she said none of that ever dampened her enthusiasm for protecting and serving the public.
“I was almost blind to it for a second just because I was so focused on my goals, so when you're so focused on something, on a prize, you kind of tune everything else out, and that's exactly what I did to get hired on,” she said.
All of the new recruits are expected to begin work sometime this weekend.