RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – To help with the shortage of law enforcement agencies, 21 new cadets are ready to serve and protect.

A new graduation class just walked across the stage after completing more than 750 hours and up to 44 weeks of mental and physical training.

These officers went through Wake Tech’s Basic Law enforcement training for months. Now, they are ready to walk to a new beat.

“I’m excited to get started and happy to go out there and make the difference that’s really needed,” recent grad Dashun Moore said.

Jon Gregory, who works as the Dean of Public Safety Education Training at Wake Tech Community College, said these new graduates have what it takes to serve.

“The biggest thing that we see is when they come in, a lot of the students have never been in a team environment,” he told CBS 17. “What we want them to understand is working together as a team, as a unit, is where we want them to be at the end.”

The students went through a lot of real-life scenarios as well as academic and physical training.

However, the rigorous training almost became a bit too intimidating for some.

“I’m prior military, so the whole discipline aspect was good, but the academic part was the tough part,” Moore said.

Nichole Edwards, who will be joining the Knightdale Police Department along with Moore, said working multiple jobs almost became too much.

“It was a lot. I had a full-time job during the entire program. So, I worked 7 to 4 and then came here 5 to 10,” Edwards said.

But yet they made it through.

Several family members in the audience stood proud as they all received their certificates of completion.

“She has been a very strong-willed young lady and I’m very proud of her. I wish her all the best,” Edwards’ mother, Susan, said.

“We kept pushing her on, make sure you do this and do it — it’s going to be a wonderful thing once you achieve this goal,” Edward’s father, William, also said.

The program also honored Edwards and Moore with a special award in the name of fallen Knightdale officer Ryan Hayworth.

Hayworth was a recent graduate from BLET and a former Knightdale police officer who died in the line of duty in October when he was struck and killed by a drunk driver.

The award was given out by Hayworth’s parents.

“I just want to live up to how Mr. Hayward was as a law enforcement officer and also make his parents proud,” Edwards said.

“It was even better that we were in the same department, and we both are big in the army. I get to carry that torch for him and run with it,” Moore also said.

The training does not stop there.

Once officers walk across the stage they will begin training at their designated agency for the next few months.

Wake Tech has offered this program for the past 49 years and is the first community college in North Carolina, as well as second in the nation, to earn Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) accreditation for its Public Safety Training Academy.

The next round of BLET training begins in July. To learn more about basic law enforcement training at Wake Tech, click here.