HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Fifty people joined the Houston police force Thursday, however Chief Troy Finner said more officers are needed.
"We did studies years back, we were short then, we are short now," Finner said.
He added the department needs hundreds of more officers.
"We have great young men and women who are ready to serve and want to serve our agency. We just got to grab them, attract them, get them in and they are going to move forward," Finner said.
The new class is ready to get started.
"It feels surreal," said cadet Rashelle Thomas. "I'm trying to take it all in."
Thomas, who joined HPD after 11 years in the army, said she's looking to make a difference.
"To be there for others when they are having a bad day," Thomas said. "Even if I'm having a bad day, I put mine aside. Just being there for people and genuinely giving my all to people who may not have a voice."
As Thomas and several other new officers get ready to hit the streets, the department is seeing many officers leave.
"The biggest thing is we're an aging agency right now," said Finner. "When people get 25, 30, 35 years, everybody (has) their dates."
The chief said he's trying to get officers to hold off on retirement, and recruit at the same time.
"Recruiting is an issue all around the nation," Finner said. "We'll continue to do what we can do to make sure we attract and retain the best in our nation."