The newest class of San Antonio police cadets wasted no time getting to work, heading out on the job directly after walking the stage at their graduation ceremony.
The class, known as 2012-B, which began training late last year, graduated Friday at the Lila Cockrell Theatre downtown.
39 police cadets spent eight months going through intense training, saying it was both mentally and physically challenging.
But graduation day is a time for pride and celebration.
Police Chief William McManus said he asks the graduates to reflect on this moment when they face obstacles on the street.
"Every day when you put your uniform on, you put your badge on, to remember the excitement you felt the first day and take that with you every day of your career," he said.
Natalia Deluna is one of six female graduates.
"It was tough being a female in the police academy," she said. "We do have to meet the same standards but it's harder for a female. We have to work twice as hard and show twice as much strength."
She says God called her to become a police officer, saying she feels she has a duty to protect and serve the people of San Antonio.
Although the cadets go through the SAPD academy, they don't have a contract forcing them to stay here.
They are free to go anywhere they want, but, McManus said with confidence, "They won’t."
"People wait to get on this department. If a person uses a shotgun approach to get hired quickly may apply to six or seven police departments," he added. "Typically if they get hired by another department, if their application for San Antonio Police comes through, they'll leave the other department and come here."
This class began with almost 60 cadets. McManus said some realize police work is not for them, and others leave because of the demands of the training.