22 academy graduates join the St. Louis police force

ST. LOUIS - St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said the police department is understaffed and that he needs 147 more officers. More officers will be joining the force Thursday evening.

The St. Louis Police Academy will hold a graduation ceremony Thursday evening at Harris-Stowe State University in midtown St. Louis in the school’s auditorium.

Counting tonight's class, there will have been five police academy graduations over the past year which brought 106 new officers to the department. Thursday’s class of twenty men and two women will stand before the chief, raise their right hand and take an oath to protect and defend you in the city of St. Louis.

The recruits range in age from 21 to 40 years old and have spent 31 weeks of rigorous training in the classroom, gym and in the field. Family and friends will gather in the auditorium to show their support and cheer on the new officers as they receive their badges.

In past graduation ceremonies, the police chief and other speakers have emphasized the need for support for these new officers needs to go beyond tonight. They`ll need love and concern every day when they start their new assignments on Friday and Monday.

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