The Tyler Police Department awarded badges to 11 new police recruits during a Thursday ceremony.

Police Chief Jimmy Toler said the department has a good class of cadets coming. This group will be starting in two weeks officially after their training is complete. Each recently graduated from area police academies.

“Today’s a big day for us, not just for the police department but the city of Tyler as well,” Toler said. “In about seven days, they’ll be in the streets of Tyler.”

Toler said 11 recruits is a large class for the department, with the size often being from four to six additions. It’s the police department’s 30th class of recruits.

Recruit James Nipp, 22, of Whitehouse, is looking forward to the opportunity to help residents and make the community a safer place. He was an intern at the police department over the summer.

“I’m extremely excited,” Nipp said. “This is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid.”

Luis Avelar, 25, of Tyler, will be moving into another career chapter as he becomes a police officer. He served in the Marines from 2014 to 2018.

“It feels amazing, like another achievement,” Avelar said. “I’ve always loved the uniform.”

Avelar said he’ll enjoy serving the community he grew up in and doing the job to the best of his abilities.

The new recruits are Pierre Aragon, Avelar, Braden Barnes, Donald Henson, Trevor Henson, Gavin Kirkhart, Nipp, Jonathan Phillips, Lyndsey Rogers, Stephen Todd and Jon Whitham.

Toler commended the new officers’ hard work and dedication.

“The training they’ve gone through is a testament to what they’ve done so far,” Toler said.

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