DALLAS - Twelve new officers were sworn in to work for the Dallas Police Department on Friday.
"You now have a unique opportunity to impact someone's life for the better," said Dallas Police Chief Eddie Garcia during the graduation.
Garcia says the department's goal is to hire 250 officers in 2024.
It's a tall task as departments use unique incentive packages to lure officers to their respective cities.
"We have to show these young recruits, these young men and women how we are different and how we offer something that others don't," Garcia said.
The graduating class included DPD's first officer from its new lateral transfer program.
That program is aimed at pulling current officers from departments in other cities.
It also comes with higher pay. If an officer has a college degree and 5 years of service, their entry level salary is $85,000.
Pay is not the only incentive.
This week, UNT unveiled plans for a Dallas Police Training Academy on campus.
The public-private partnership came with a $10 million grant to get the fundraising started.
The total cost is $140 million.
The new facility will be a dramatic improvement over the current facility with rooms that were partially funded by the officers themselves.
"We are going to continue to grind away," said Garcia.
This graduating class also includes more bilingual officers.
Chief Garcia says the community is behind DPD and thinks this is the right time to attract new and veteran talent.
"We take the criminal element off of our streets. It is okay to be a cop in the City of Dallas," said Garcia.
Officers in the lateral program also get relocation assistance, paid maternity and paternity leave and 15 vacation days a year that don't expire.