VALENCIA – With a gloved hand, sheriff’s recruit Kaylee Volk blew a silent kiss Friday morning to her training officer, the man who would hand her back a small piece of her father. Moments later, Deputy Don Rubio pinned his badge on Volk during the graduation of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s North Academy at College of the Canyons. It was the same No. 3417 her father Jerry Volk had worn as a deputy until his death in 1991, a number reissued, coincidentally, to a man who would help train the late Deputy Volk’s daughter. “We’re so proud, we’re so honored,” the new deputy’s mother Lori Gabbard said after the tear-filled badge-pinning ceremony. Volk was among a class of 46 new peace officers – 32 men and 14 women – to graduate from the academy on the Valencia campus. Thirty-four of the recruits are now sheriff’s deputies; others were trained under contract for other law enforcement agencies, including the Burbank, Glendale and Simi Valley police departments and the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Police Department. “She came to Ohio as an au pair,” Doyle said. “She met my son when she stopped him to ask directions.” Grace Fuentes of Sylmar was proud of daughter Andrea Galindo for making it through the tough six-month academy program. Galindo has been hired by the Los Angeles schools police. “It wasn’t easy – the physical part and the mental part,” Fuentes said. “But she got in shape. She went from a size 11 to a size 3. Now she’s got a bikini and a badge.” Galindo’s brother, Albert Fuentes, 15, expects his sister to be there when he, too, joins law enforcement. “I want to be SWAT – higher than my sister,” he said, laughing. [email protected] (661) 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2The graduation is the third this year in the county where Sheriff Lee Baca has faced criticism for failing to fill open positions. In February, after a spate of brawls in the county jail system, where deputies serve as guards, the department had about 8,200 deputies, 1,200 fewer than Baca has funds to employ. “It’s picked up,” Capt. Sue Kopperud, head of the department’s training bureau, said of recruiting efforts. “We have 34 right here, and more are turning out. It’s going to take some time, but we’re making a dent.” Friday’s graduates stood at attention for inspection, then paraded before an audience of proud parents, spouses, children and friends. There were balloons, flowers, cheers and tears. Sixteen of the recruits had close relatives in the crowd who were in law enforcement, including one young deputy whose father and grandfather were peace officers. Fidencio and Amelia Ruiz of La Puente said their recruit son, Miguel Ruiz, was eager to get out to patrol, but faces at least a few years working in the jails, where all new deputies are assigned. Elle Dye has one son in the Sheriff’s Department; another is a Los Angeles police officer. She traveled from Ohio to watch her German-born daughter-in-law, Bettina Hutchinson of Palmdale, become a deputy.