TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — Thirty law enforcement graduates from different police departments in West Alabama got their diplomas Thursday. Six are Tuscaloosa officers.

Hunter Lentz was excited to graduate with his classmates. He said he is ready to serve and protect as a new Tuscaloosa police officer despite recent violence in cities around the country.

“I know the dangers of what comes with doing this job,” Lentz said. “But I just want to help serve people and that’s truly what I want to do this for and it makes me feel better and I know I have the tools and the training I can use to serve the people the right way and be effective and I know I can be good at it”.

The graduation ceremony was held at Church of the Highlands. Tuscaloosa Police Department Assistant Chief Heath Clark told CBS 42 although it has just six new recruits this graduation, the process is always helpful to bring in more officers to serve.

“A lot of the recruits are some of the best I’ve seen come in, and we’ve got great young officers,” Clark said. “But it’s just the process of getting enough of them, getting them through, and it’s a time-consuming process training them and getting them on the street and getting them where they are proficient”.

The TPD has roughly 260 officers on staff. Graduation ceremonies are held twice a year for law enforcement officers who graduate from the academy. Lentz said it’s a dangerous job, but he is happy to help protect his community.

“The Lord has my back no matter where I go, and he will take care of me,” Lentz said. “So I don’t worry about the danger, but I know I have to always be safe. But I know the Lord has my back no matter where happens”.  

The new officers who graduated will be working in the following departments: Tuscaloosa, Sumiton, Shelby County, Pickens County, Northport, Carbon Hill, Winfield, Centreville, Brent, West Blockton, Aliceville, Gilbertown, Hale County, Vernon, Butler County, Greene County and Reform.