BRIDGEPORT, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s been a struggle to hire for police departments across the state but on Friday night, several cities and towns welcomed new recruits to their ranks.

“It’s really gratifying there are several officers who I’ve mentored throughout the years who have gone up through the ranks,” Bridgeport Chief of Police Roderick Porter said.

The North Haven Police Department welcomed officer Brianna Sargent, who wrapped up 24 weeks of training on Thursday night. 

The Bridgeport Police Department is prioritizing finding good people and diversity in its police force. 

“We represent a diverse community so that’s always a goal of ours and we continue to make efforts to do that,” Porter said. 

But it is a challenge, especially when the pandemic and inflation discouraged some from going into the field. 

“It’s a great career it’s been great for me and my family I’ve been able to put three kids through college,” Hartford Sgt. Steven Austin said.

The Hartford Police Department is looking to hire about 50 officers due to upcoming retirements.

“Those are the things that it provided for me and I wanna make sure that we continue to have those kinds of opportunities for those seeking careers in law enforcement,” Austin said.

Graduates shared their stories from training and what they learned on Friday night.

“I wanna be able to show people that not every cop is bad,” said Christopher Matarazzo, a probationary police officer for the Bridgeport Police Department.

Three new officers for the Manchester police department also graduated last week. While the Hamden Police Department also swore in 14 female officers back in December, the most in the department’s history.