JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- The Jersey City Police Department swore in a new class of recruits Thursday morning.
A moment of silence was held for slain Det. Joseph Seals during the ceremony.
Police Chief Mike Kelly asked the public to also keep Officers Ray Sanchez and Mariela Fernandez, who were wounded in the shootout, in their prayers.
"Yes, there is a narrative throughout the United States of America that the police are not as respected as they should be. Listen very clearly to what I'm about to say: I do not feel that way in the city of Jersey City. The citizens of this city love you and respect you. And that love and respect that you give, you will get in return in this city," Kelly said.
Jersey City Police Officer Swearing In Ceremony
"The mayor has set the narrative, and this city will respect you every single day and look for your help and guidance. So you can read about the national narrative, but I tell you this city is about love," he added.
Officer Lisa Acosta offered perspective on a new beginning for some in the shadow of the tragic loss of Det. Seals.
"It's really upsetting to hear that our fellow officer passed away, but to see that everybody came together -- all members of the law enforcement and a police department which now I'm a part of -- I'm really proud to be part of the Jersey City Police Department," Acosta said.
Hand over their hearts, 34 new police recruits took their oath of office inside City Hall Council Chambers.
The recruits are just some of the 620 new officers hired since 2013, making the department's current roster the largest the city has had in decades.
Carlos Marte is one of the newly sworn-in officers. The 30-year-old said becoming an officer is a dream come true.
"Always having that person that could tell you exactly wrong from right, you know, I want to be that for the younger community," Marte told CBS2's Kiran Dhillon.
Mayor Steven Fulop said the city is also committed to diversity within the department, adding nearly 70 percent of the officers hired since 2013 are minorities.
And while the new recruits said last week's shooting is worrisome, it hasn't stopped them from wanting to serve.
"You hear about a cop being shot or a cop dying, it's a tragedy. It only fuels me and makes me want to do it even more because I know at the end of the day the community needs people to protect them and be there for them at all times," Marte said.
It's a sentiment shared by the all the recruits -- it's an honor to be a member of JCPD.
Mayor Fulop said despite the shooting, this year Jersey City will have its lowest crime rate in 50 years. He said that's all thanks to the city's hard-working officers.
JERSEY CITY SHOOTING
- Funeral Held For Det. Joseph Seals, Killed Confronting Suspects In Cemetery
- Third Suspect Linked To Shooters Appears In Court On Weapons Charges
- Mayor Steven Fulop Plans To Build Community Bridges In Wake Of Deadly Shootout
- Jersey City Shooters Believed To Be Prime Suspects In Murder Of Local Livery Driver
- Anti-Defamation League Talks Of Fear Gripping Jewish Community
- CBS2 Journalists Recount Being In Harm's Way
- Watch: Barrage Of Gunfire Heard In Jersey City As Police Move On Suspects
- Photos: Scenes From Jersey City's Deadly Shootout
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