CHICAGO (WLS) -- Friday was graduation day for the Chicago Police Department.
One hundred sergeants and 63 police recruits got their diplomas at the morning ceremony at Navy Pier. Twenty-two officers were also promoted.
The class is part of the new leadership team aimed at bringing diversity to the department at a time when police trust, in some communities, is at risk, and the department is under the radar nationally.
"This class is entering a time of positive reform for the police department and your training and the way you utilize your skills to the citizens of the city is going to be our future," said Interim Police Supt. John Escalante.
According to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, half of police chiefs and deputy chiefs on the police department are African-American, and more women are serving in leadership roles.
"What I was really happy to see some of the leadership promoted today, a lot of ladies there, I thought that's a good thing, there seems to be a lot of diversity in this class," said Michael Amesquita, a family member of a graduate.
The new force is entering the city's ranks during a pivotal time in the city's fight against crime. The mayor's goal is to restore integrity.
"Successful policing requires us to build the trust with the communities we serve, any of these veteran officers can tell you in the age of dash boards, body cameras and cell phones, your work is under greater scrutiny than ever before," Emanuel said.
The ceremony comes as several new policies and procedures are beginning at the department, and more training is scheduled for patrol officers.
Police recruits spend five months at the Police Academy and received about 1,000 hours of instruction and training before beginning a Field Training Program as a Probationary Police Officer. Upon acceptable completion of the Field Training Program and 13 months of field experience, Probationary Police Officers become full-fledged police officers.
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