LAS VEGAS (KLAS) – 15 new police officers will soon take to the streets in North Las Vegas after graduating from the Vegas Valley Police Academy on Thursday, August 10.

After a grueling 24 weeks at the police academy, these recruits received their badge in a ceremony at the College of Southern Nevada’s Horn Theater.

More than half the class is bilingual with eight Spanish-speaking recruits, who will be better able to communicate with and engage the 42% of North Las Vegas residents who identify as Hispanic.

Academy Commander Lt. John Cargile was with these recruits since the start of their training.

“We have bakers, mechanics, school teachers, and then when you see them out here on the graduation stage, they carry themselves better and much more confident,” he explained.

For Officer Steicy Castillo it was her childhood dream to become a police officer.

“I want to get out there and build that positive relationship. I know it is kind of up and down with the public and police, so I want to help maintain at the top,” Castillo said.

Her classmate Shantriece Thornton was one of the two people to receive the physical fitness award for this class.

Serving her community has always been a big part of her life after serving in the U.S. Army.

“I want to show my daughter that she can be anything she wants to be regardless of what it is and that anything is possible,” she explained.

As these newest recruits crossed the stage the next class of recruits also there observing what they could achieve after academy training.

The new officers have six more weeks of training before they go out with their field training officers on the streets of North Las Vegas.

North Las Vegas Police reports an increase in applicants for the academy.

To help combat the policing shortage they are offering a $10,000 hiring bonus for recruits.