With a handshake and a salute, 16 new officers were welcomed into the Albany Police Department on Monday, making it both the largest class and team the department has had in years.
"We're not fully staffed, we're down 10 or 12 but we're close, this is as close as we've ever been," said Chief John Proctor.
The 16 officers graduated from the police academy in Tifton last week. In each of the two classes a leader who excelled in every category was picked to bring back the class flag and both went home with an Albany Police Officer.
Brad Porter, one of the recipients, says wearing the uniform is something he's always dreamed of and getting the flag was an honor.
"It means everything to me. I promised myself I was going to try and bring it home, I told my parents I would and I did it," said Porter.
Chief Proctor says the bar has been raised with each incoming class, allowing the department to be more selective than ever.
"The more we get, the more better able we are to utilize those and revamp some of the programs that we have so they're coming on board to assist in getting to the place that we need to be."
Though they have the badge, the journey isn't over yet for the 16 officers who still have to complete 12 weeks of field training beginning next week before they can patrol the streets.