They weren't quite civilians - they'd already picked up their guns earlier that day.
It wasn't until Justice James Hardesty of the Nevada Supreme Court swore them in that they stepped into the thin blue line - a term for police of all types - and became sworn peace officers in Nevada.
The cadets-turned-peace officers, when they first start on their new jobs across the state, will learn how big the thin blue line is.
"The thin blue line is a lot thicker than you think," state Public Safety Director Chris Perry told the newly minted officers Thursday in Carson City.
The officers spent five months at the Department of Public Safety training academy, and their ranks thinned from 36 to 25.
Those 25, including 19 men and six women, topped off their sworn statuses by having their badges pinned on them by family members, some with tears in their eyes.
Mallory Triplett, 26, will join the state Parole and Probation Department in Las Vegas. She went to the academy after working in corrections.
"I've always had a passion," she said. "I was ready to make a difference in the community."
In the past, the DPS academy classes started with 25 cadets and were whittled down to about 20. Larger classes will be the rule over the next two years because the state is "having to fill in attrition holes" from retiring officers, Perry said.
The stars of the graduation of the DPS Basic Academy Number 66 were the graduates themselves, or as their speaker and fellow graduate Patrick O'Keefe put it, itself.
"You see 25 individuals. I don't. I see one," O'Keefe said, adding that during their time at the academy the cadets had to act as a cohesive whole, as a single entity.
O'Keefe also said he threw away the first drafts of his speech before realizing "it's about us."
The peace officers will be spread across Nevada, from Las Vegas to Hawthorne, Winnemucca, Tonopah, West Wendover, Reno, Carson City, Pahrump, Alamo and Moapa. They're being hired by the Nevada Highway Patrol, Parole and Probation and Capital Police.