DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Des Moines Police Department grew a little more on Friday morning, when 13 new officers were sworn in at a ceremony at Hy-Vee Hall as part of the 74th recruit class.
For most of the recruits, this is something they’ve dreamed of being since they were young, but the journey to get to this stage began 18 months ago in the academy.
“Tough. Mentally and physically challenging,” said Joshua Noble, of the Des Moines Police Department.
It took more than 900 hours to turn these recruits into peace officers and required long days training and seemingly endless nights away from their families. But when they received their badges on Friday morning, it was all worth it.
“I can’t even describe the feeling. It’s something I’ve wanted for a long time,” said Noble.
Noble is part of the 74th recruiting class for Des Moines. His new boss, Chief Dana Wingert, was on hand to welcome him. Wingert shook each hand and offered advice as all the recruits crossed the stage. Wingert is excited because this class has a chance to make a difference right away.
“Everyone is high performing and high functioning and works together. They’ve got their work cut out of them. We will expect a lot out of them, but we have a very supportive community and we always have that advantage,” said Chief Wingert.
Expectations are high for these 13 recruits, but Noble is facing a little extra pressure. He is the first recipient of the Tony Beminio Award, given to the class’ top recruit.
“To name this award after him for the outstanding recruit, I think inspires the recruits to work as hard as they possibly can in the academy. Because if you can live up to that standard and have your name put on a plaque that bears the name of Sgt. Tony Beminio, you’ve got a really good start of your career right there,” said Wingert.
Beminio was given the top recruit award when he graduated, and then went on to become an outstanding officer for the department. Noble hopes he can do the same.
“It really hits home to me to get the award in his honor. He was a great officer. Leaves me with big shoes to fill. I hope I can be half as good as an officer as he was. Very big honor,” said Noble.
This recruiting class couldn’t come at a better time. Wingert said the staffing levels are shorter than where they need to be for a city this size. His officers have been working a lot of extra hours to keep the city running. These 13 rookies will be a welcomed sight to the department veterans.
It won’t be long before we see another class, too. They are fast-tracking another one for October to help catch up with staffing.