MILWAUKEE, WI - It was a day of mixed emotions Thursday for the Milwaukee Police Department as 58 new recruits became police officers. The graduation comes a week after the death of Officer Charles Irvine Jr.
“This is the starting line," Mayor Barrett said. "I want to thank you for the commitment that you have made to this point," he continued.
After six long months of training, 58 recruits have officially graduated from Milwaukee's Police Academy.
“I feel good," Rashad Stewart said. "It’s been a long six months, but here at the academy they trained us well."
For Stewart, this day is a dream come true, and for Milwaukee Police, this is one of the academy’s largest graduating classes as the department works to fill a staffing deficit due to a number of officers retiring.
“This is a class that we can truly say we’re molding to the new vision and mission of the department," Chief Morales said.
This class is also the first to graduate under Chief Morales, and although a celebratory time, it’s still riddled with sadness as the department continues to mourn the loss of Officer Charles Irvine Jr. who was killed in a rollover crash just one week ago.
“[I've had] several sleepless nights," Chief Morales said.
"We’re taking it on, we’re accepting it, but it’s the passion [that keeps us going],” he continued.
Chief Morales said although this is an emotional time, he's still working to move the department forward. Next week he will announce several promotions to his command staff.
These promotions include five captains, one inspector, six lieutenants and one chief of staff.
The funeral for Officer Irvine is Saturday.