BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “In normal times, the job is difficult and dangerous,” said Mayor Byron Brown. “But it is more complicated now more than ever before.”

On Friday, The Buffalo Police Department swore in 29 community members, getting them one step closer to earning the badge. The recruits will now go to the Police Academy, as they work towards becoming men and women in blue.

“I just feel like it was a life calling for me,” said one of the recruits. “Just in general, I’ve always been prepared and I’m ready for whatever life throws at me.”

City leaders say now more than ever, the Buffalo Police Department is crucial to keeping the community safe.

“You are a member of the community. You come from the community, and come back, it’s about community engagement,” said Buffalo Police Commissioner, Joseph Gramaglia. “Getting out there and networking with everybody. It’s not just about arresting people, it’s about building community trust and building those bridges.”

During times like these, city leaders are proud to see the amount of community members dedicated to serve their own community.

Mayor Brown, attended the event on Friday and praised the Buffalo Police Department for their response time to the attack on Jefferson Avenue. They responded within a minute after receiving the 911 call.

“You are amongst the best of the best and we are counting on you graduating from the academy,” Mayor Brown said. “It will not be easy but all of you have the right stuff to make it through and then we can counting on you to help push the department forward to be even better. To be even more excellent.”

At the swearing in ceremony, the department announced a new mentorship program has been added to help recruits and officers together and grow each other’s skills sets.

“These young recruits, they were light years ahead of where we were back then, so policing has come so much further in the last 28 years that they already have a leg up,” said Gramaglia on how the people recruited today are advanced in technological skills.

Though there’s a shortage of police officers nationwide, people continue to sign up here locally.

“We want people to see that this is a great job,” said Gramaglia. “It’s a great profession and when the time comes to sign up for the exam, we encourage you to do so.”

For more information on how to get involved with the Buffalo Police Department, head to their website here.

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.