The Odessa Police Department just gained six new officers on Jan. 26, and the latest class of the Odessa Police Academy just began a few weeks prior to that.

The latest class consists of 11 recruits, who began learning Jan. 8. They haven’t seen much in the sense of action so far. No guns or crime scenes yet, just law and procedure.

Should all 11 recruits graduate and swear in, they will cut the OPD’s current deficit in half, as the department is currently 22 officers short of a budgeted amount of 182 officers.

During their fourth week of training, they are being taught the ins-and-outs of the penal code, documenting their jurisdiction’s criminal law, by investigator J. Gonzalez.

Odessan Ben Wollett, 21, said being a cop has been a lifelong dream of his.

“I’ve always wanted to be one since I was a kid,” Wollett said. “I’ve always just wanted to help people.”

Wollett said that, so far, the academy has gone over the laws of the constitution with them, as well as police procedures, the history of policing, and now they’re going over the penal code.

Taylor Box, 24, is another student in the current class, who flew all the way from Grand Rapids, Mich. to join the Odessa Police Academy. He said there wasn’t much of a reason behind his decision to go to Odessa; this is just where he got accepted.

“I did a ride-along for an internship and it really caught my attention,” Box said.

Box and Wollett both said the most interesting and unexpected thing they’ve learned so far related to laws and penal codes, as they were previously unaware to how extensive they were before joining the academy.

The 11 recruits of the Odessa Police Academy will graduate and be sworn in sometime in late July, at which point they will become OPD officers and be assigned to their own beats.