ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – There was extra applause along with higher expectations for the first St. Louis Police Academy class to graduate since the events in Ferguson.

They were sworn in as a special class for two reasons.

The class began almost 10 years to the day that officer Nicholas Sloan was killed, and they were sworn in following weeks of unrest between citizens and police in Ferguson.

“Ferguson will be a benchmark, a bookmark in history as we go forward,” Dotson says.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson calls it a generational change.

“The world we live in is changing,” Dotson says. “It’s changed over the last two and a half, three weeks.”

Dotson says these 25 new officers, with their youth, have a chance to better connect with communities, especially in some neighborhoods that are more challenged.

Class president Darious Rutling agrees.

“Right now, the police are associated with bad things,” Rutling says. “I want to go out there and show that there are some good police officers. It starts with us. We’re the new face.”

He says the events in Ferguson motivated him to get out there and change the perception of police in the community.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)



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