FULTONDALE, Ala. (WIAT) — A new group of law enforcement officers were sworn in as sheriff’s deputies Friday.

Fifteen men and women graduated from the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Academy. Two of those deputies will work for JCSO but Sheriff Mark Pettway says they still have many positions they need to fill.

“We have about 58 vacancies we’re looking to hire right now immediately so if anyone is interested, we are hiring,” Pettway said. “Please come down to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office or they can visit the personnel board of Jefferson County to put an application in to be a deputy sheriff.”

Blount County Sheriff’s Office will also be welcoming two graduates from the academy class into their ranks. Sheriff Mark Moon says there’s a struggle across the country to hire deputies currently.

“It’s very stressful, low pay and also the expectations can seem to be a little impossible,” Moon said.

Joshua Shikle is one of the deputies who graduated from the academy Friday. He says he’s the first person in his family to work in law enforcement. He will start working as a deputy in Blount County and wants to help youth in order to change the stigma against law enforcement.

“Some of the world is against us but it’s our job as a new generation to show the fact that we’re not all bad,” Shikle said.  “I’m going to strive to put that impact on the community and I’m here to help and I’m not here to arrest you so I feel like that will be a big impact.”

Sheriff Moon says people depend on deputies to help make communities better.

“The work they do is not just clock in, do eight hours and go home. The work they do is extremely important to the safety of our community,” Moon said.

For more information about the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office Law Enforcement Academy click here.