KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Eighteen new Kansas City police officers will hit the streets this weekend. They graduated from the Kansas City Regional Police Academy Thursday night.

With these newest entrant officers there are now 1,146 KCPD officers, but that’s still 222 officers short of where the police department says they’d like to be.

“As Chief of Police I commission you as police officers of the Kansas City Missouri Police Department, Congratulations,” KCPD Interim Chief Joe Mabin said.

“As much crime and our crime rates there’s not enough officers that are patrolling the streets. I don’t think we can have enough right now,” Natasha Villalobos said.

Griffin Kraut was one of 18 Kansas City entrant officers to have a loved one pin on his badge tonight and take his oath to protect and serve. That included the son of KCPD Deputy Chief Karen True and the daughter of a detective who removed his badge pinning it on his daughter in an emotional moment.

“It’s a lot, people expect a lot out of you the risk every night every day,” Kraut said.

“It’s kind of a special fraternity not everyone gets to join in but those are brave enough to stand up say you want to do it you are and we can’t thank you enough,” Kansas City Councilwoman Heather Hall said.

Kraut has a simple answer explaining why he spent the past seven months training to become a police officer.

“Someone’s got to do it, if not me who is going to protect my family at night, who is going to protect my neighbors my friends?”

He said he understands why some might be fearful of the job.

“Everything that’s going on between communities and cops I don’t think maybe a lot of people want to be cops,” Villalobos said.

“I think it means a lot that you would still have people stepping forth and saying I want to serve my community even though times are tough they are still wanting to make that commitment to the department to the citizens of Kansas City,” KCPD Officer Donna Drake said.

KCPD funding remains in question, with a lawsuit filed by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas Wednesday over a new law that requires the city to increase police funding. The department does have another 18 recruits in another academy class that began in July.

Officers from Raytown, Raymore, Smithville, Blue Springs, Lee’s Summit and North Kansas City also graduated and were sworn in Thursday.

North Kansas City’s Police Chief thanked the police academy for dedicating its challenge run to Officer Daniel Vasquez, a recent graduate shot and killed in the line of duty last month.

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