It's the first class for new Chief Calvin Williams

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CLEVELAND -- They start their police careers in a department facing change, controversy and challenges.

But 44 new Cleveland police officers are eager to begin their careers.

Mayor Frank Jackson swore them in in City Hall ceremonies Friday.

The 131st Cleveland Police Academy class comes on under a new chief, an unresolved legal situation surrounding the controversial police chase and double deadly shooting and a federal probe into the department's use-of-force history.

But these cadets are eager to get out of the classroom and on the streets and begin serving.

Officer Nicholas Merrifield comes from a police family. His father is leaving a post in charge of the Police Academy.

"I've always been one of those people who likes to help anyone I can, anytime. This is definitely the job for me," he said.

There was no specific mention of the chase/shooting incident.

But Safety Director and former Chief Michael McGrath told new officers, "You will be called upon to make real-time decisions that will affect another person's life for eternity."

It's the first class for new Chief Calvin Williams.

He said, "People rise and fall to the level of others' expectations. My expectation is that every one of you will become a superior police officer."

Cousins Anthony and Ryan Miranda are nephews of Councilman Matt Zone.

Ryan's dad, William, is a veteran Cleveland policeman.

New patrolman Anthony Miranda said, "I'm born and raised here in Cleveland. I know how how good the city is....to be part of the good, nothing better.

Ryan Miranda is proud to follow in his father's footsteps.

"I have the values, ethics and morals that my father put in me as a young boy," he said.

His father said, "He has an opportunity to make an impact. He doesn't know it now, but he will."

As for their thoughts about coming on the force when there is a lot of public mistrust of the police for issues and incidents, both Ryan and Anthony are setting their ideals high.

Ryan said, "I don't want them to hold that against us. We're trying to change that."

Anthony said, "It's about serving everybody, trying to treat everybody with respect and no prejudice."

The new class is all men, no women. Police sources said the physical requirements were very demanding this time around.

There are 35 white officers and nine black or Hispanic.

The new police switch from the classroom to reality will start Monday.

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