Christine Lee, NBC 5 Grand Prairie Reporter
16 recruits make up the first class of Grand Prairie's new police academy.
Grand Prairie is operating a police academy for the first time, meaning police can now work more closely with their recruits.
Takesha Dye, one of the recruits, plans on being the first police officer in her family.
"Every day I can go home feeling good about what I've done and just community police here in Grand Prairie and make others' lives safe," she said.
City leaders and family members of the recruits came to show support at the academy's ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.
"If we looked at Aurora (Colo.) this past weekend, it just tells you one more time of how important the police department is," Mayor Charles England said.
Half of the 16 recruits at the academy are minorities. For the first time in the department's history, two Asian recruits made the cut.
"I have chosen Grand Prairie because there is a lot of diversity here, equal opportunity is very much practiced here, and the ladder for career achievement is very achievable here," said recruit Rex Oloya, who is originally from the Philippines.
Police department leaders such as Lt. John Shaw said the city's new academy would help recruits quickly acclimate to Grand Prairie.
"We can go ahead from day one, give them the Grand Prairie way, the Grand Prairie doctrine and how the chief wants to run the Grand Prairie Police Department," Shaw said.
They also said the recruits would be watched daily during a 28-week period, with opportunities to learn more hands-on within their community.
Police Chief Steve Dye said the department has facilities in town to provide driving, firearms and self-defense tactics.
Grand Prairie police officers are running the department's in-house academy. The city hires up to 20 new officers each year.