SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose Police Department has reached a major milestone, with more women than ever joining the force as part of its recent class of academy graduates.
Of the 47 graduates, nine are female, which makes it the highest number of women to ever be sworn-in at the same time. The class itself is also the largest over the past decade.
"I really wanted a fulfillment in my life, and a purpose, and to follow in the footsteps of my little brother, who's also in the navy," said Ofc. Nathalie Arevalo, who worked in tech before applying for a position with San Jose Police.
Members of Academy Class 31 came together Friday to celebrate their achievements at San Jose City College in front of family, friends and colleagues. After six months of intense training, academy graduates were presented with their police badges by Chief Eddie Garcia.
"The diversity of the class is fantastic, the fact that we have nine women is fantastic," said Garcia. "It's just something that we should all be really proud of and the residents of this city should be really proud as well."
Newly-promoted officer and academy graduate Amy Marroquin previously worked in the medical field.
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"More officers means we can respond to more calls, and that's what we're here for, we're ready to get out on the streets," says Marroquin.
Lt. Heather Randol, commander of the SJPD recruiting unit, says the department has taken a progressive approach to attract potential candidates. She looks forward to seeing the officers shine in their new roles.
"It feels good to be able to share with them my experiences, some of the mistakes I made, some of the decisions I made that worked for me, and so I'm very proud to mentor these young women," said Randol.
San Jose Police appear to be on the rise, after a decade of staffing challenges. The department is authorized to have 1,109 officers within its ranks. This class, as well as the one that will graduate this fall, brings the current total to 1,035. That's up from the 30-year low of 927 in 2016.
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SJPD swears in record-setting number of female officers
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