Syracuse, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – The Syracuse Police Department added new officers to its staff Friday morning as a new class of recruits was welcomed into its ranks.

The class is small. Just four new officers were sworn in.

That’s what remained out of the original group of 150 applicants.

The small class comes at a time when the department is already short-staffed.

Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh says there are no plans to cut corners in the department in an effort to increase staffing levels.

“We are being very careful not to lower the standards that we expect of our candidates. The Syracuse Police department has an incredibly difficult job they do it incredibly well, they are one of the best police agencies around and that’s because they have high standards.”

Ben Walsh, Syracuse mayor

The new recruits will spend the next 26 weeks going through on-the-street training. One of those new recruits was Montell Lyles Jr., who grew up in Syracuse.

“I grew up here in the city of Syracuse,” he said, “I have experienced loss from many family members and friends to gun violence, gang violence and I want to do my best to make a change for that.”

However, even with the historically small class, Lyles Jr. says he views it as a challenge he is willing to accept.

“It shows me that this is something that was meant for me and my other classmates,” he said, “That we were chosen for a reason and that we will make a big change.”