Oakland Police Department adds 12 officers to its ranks ahead of new chief Floyd Mitchell’s start date

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) —After six months of grueling training and academics, the graduates of Oakland Police Department’s 193rd academy are ready to take their ranks.

“It has been a long journey, but now I can officially say I am an officer of the law,” said Officer Kevin Molina, who is one of the 12 graduates.

Officer Molina says he comes from humble beginnings and has seen a lot of people suffer around him. He sees law enforcement as a pathway to helping the community heal.

“We want to be the ones out there helping, in whatever way we can. Even if it is just a simply, ‘Hello.’ I can make that difference in someone’s life,” Molina said.

MORE: Oakland City Council approves new police chief’s contract

The police department says this class is a diverse group with three females and nine males, speaking multiple languages, including Spanish, Farsi and Punjabi. The graduates bring the department’s total to 716 sworn officers.

Officer Manvir Sandhu is one of three females. She is a Punjabi Sikh. For her, this is also about representation.

“It is exciting. That’s one of the differences I wanted to make. To kind of open up that field to females from my community and culture as well. That it is definitely exciting and excited to go on the new path,” Officer Sandhu said.

As the graduates names were called, on hand was incoming Police Chief Floyd Mitchell, who starts next week.

MORE: New Oakland Police Chief Floyd Mitchell formally introduced by Mayor Sheng Thao

“No one can take away from you what you have accomplished. However, the work has just begun. This profession is not easy. It is hard,” Acting Police Chief Tony Jones told the crowd during his opening speech.

During the time cadets were going through the academy, two Oakland police officers died from injuries they suffered on the line of duty. Molina admits that was a hard reality to face.

“I’m not going to lie. I feel a little fear because that is a reality. I could go out there on my very first day of patrol and my life can be taken. But that’s a choice I am making, and it’s actually a choice that makes me want to do it even more,” Molina said. “Because I am willing to put my life on the line to help anyone I can, if it means that they can go back home to their families.”

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