NORFOLK, Va. - The Norfolk Police Department celebrated a milestone Thursday night.
NPD's 100th Session Recruit Academy Class graduated to become police officers.
It's a moment years in the making for Jose Soto. At 46-years-old -- he's the oldest recruit and President of the class.
"I did 26 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and I retired in April of last year. I honestly didn't want to go sit at a desk somewhere. I wanted to continue to serve and this was the capacity I wanted to continue to serve," said Soto.
Soto and 26 others took the oath to protect and serve at Norfolk's Harbor Park Stadium. 24 men and 3 women of different races and backgrounds.
"It's mindblowing to see how we've progressed throughout the years," said Police Chief Larry Boone.
Each recruit spent the last six months in a grueling training program.
"They went through firearms, defense tactics, driving and a lot of different scenarios making sure they knew how to act," said Master Police Officer Carrie Ford, a training instructor.
Now ready to head out onto the streets for the real thing Chief Boone the success of these now-officers boils down to how they treat others -- especially those struggling in life.
"The people you're dealing with in our line of work...for the most part are that one percent and that one percent is respect so you treat everyone you come across with dignity and respect," said Boone.
The ceremony also included tributes to past classes. A member of the first recruiting academy class from the early 1970s was also present.