MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — It’s an exciting day for the newest recruits for the Mobile Police Department.

After weeks of intense training, 19 of the newest members of the police force are celebrating by driving around in their police cars for the very first time.

Chief of Police Paul Prine said this is an exciting moment, but there has been difficulty getting police officers to join the team.

“The members of the department are excited because certainly, we have been short,” said Prine. “We have struggled getting the qualified officers and applicants that we need.”

The difficulties in finding officers for the police department have affected the new members of the team, but for them, this is a day of excitement, so they encourage those to become police officers.

Officers such as Keyshawn Cross were overwhelmed with joy and relief that today marks the first step to work towards a career he’s worked very hard for.

“The citizens like it’s surprising how the citizen treats police officers,” said Cross. “You would think like that citizens don’t like, police officers, but citizens are actually pleasant to us. They appreciate us. That’s more of a motivation for me to be honest to go into policing.”

Officer Gerald Brandon used to serve in the military in the Air Force, and he said the experience motivated him to join the police department.

“The service that I was already doing in the Air Force it carried over,” said Brandon. “Because you have an internal clock that wants you to want you to serve, being out in the community serving is the same as it is just like in the military.”

Prine said the Mobile Police Department is still looking for at least 60 more members to join their team. They will have a new training academy in January.