A handful of students started the Law Enforcement Academy at Missouri Western State University on Monday, and for some it was the beginning of fulfilling a life-long dream.
"My mom went through the academy here a couple years ago. A bunch of family friends are in law enforcement and it's always been a dream of mine," said student Cody Wilson.
Wilson hopes following in mom's footsteps will pay off.
"She got a job right off the bat, so I'm hoping I can have that kind of good luck," said Wilson.
The job openings coming soon to the St. Joseph Police Department can only help his chances.
Voters recently passed a public safety tax, which should pay for 20 new police officers in St. Joseph.
Academy administrators say that may be what caused the spike in enrollment this session.
More students are going through the academy this fall than have the past few semesters.
"I graduated from Savannah a few years back and now it's just time to take a step towards my future," said Wilson.
"The part-time police academy really works with my schedule. I'm able to work while I'm going through the academy. I'm trying to get through it debt-free," said student Justin Riddle.
Riddle has been on some ride-alongs with area officers and says the academy was the obvious next step.
"I've heard really good things about this academy so I'm looking forward to going through it and hopefully getting a job somewhere in Missouri," said Riddle.
Whether it's a dream come true, or a desire to protect others, the students are learning what it takes to start a career.
With the combination of other sessions, including full-time students, the academy expects to enroll about 17 people this year.
The next academy will be offered in January.