ST. LOUIS — The rain stopped, and the sun peeked through the sky Thursday night just in time for a new chapter for 20 men and women.  

A recruit class of 20 people took the stage at Harris-Stowe State University at 7 p.m. Thursday to be sworn in and receive their official police badges to become St. Louis Metropolitan police officers.  

The new officers went through 33 weeks of rigorous physical training and spent hours inside of a classroom training for this day. Police Chief John Hayden addressed the new officers at the ceremony. He is set to retire in June.  

“Your personal safety is always going to be in the forefront of my thoughts and prayers,” Hayden said.

For Luis Navarro, it was his childhood friend’s lifelong dream to become a police officer. On Thursday, he watched the dream come true for his friend and said he couldn’t put into words how proud he was. 

These men and women are filling a much-needed role in the City of St. Louis, as officials announced overtime for SLMPD officers over the worry of a violent summer.

“As you know this line of work you will enter is not easy,” Mayor Tishaura Jones said. “I commend you for the bravery to make our home safer.”

Mayor Jones said during her speech Thursday night that her office is in the process of making sure they have the resources they need to make their difficult jobs easier. 

“My administration is working to get the tools and support that you need,” she said.

Mayor Jones cut $4 million from the police department’s budget in 2021. The money was set aside for 98 vacant police officer positions. Jones moved the money to other city services. 

This budget reallocation did not cut current officer positions, and there were still vacancies available.

FOX 2’s Dan Gray served as the evening’s emcee.