"It's really special," Capt. Andy Sides said

By Robyn Merrett
November 05, 2019 07:49 PM
Jefferson County Sheriff's Department 
J.B. Forbes/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

Keeping their community safe isn’t the only fulfilling experience that has bonded a group of Missouri policeman: they’re all new dads!

Just this year, 17 officers with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office have welcomed babies — a new record for the department, which consists of about 175 officers, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The abundance of infants is something the policeman couldn’t be more proud of.

“It’s really special,” Capt. Andy Sides told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His second child was born six months ago.

“Holy cow!” Sides said.

In celebration of the baby boom, the officers, their babies and their wives gathered together on Monday for an adorable group photo.

For the occasion, the officers dressed in their uniform holding their babies, who all wore matching white t-shirts with deputy badges printed on them. They also wore brown pants.

Some of the babies accessorized their looks with bows, colorful socks and even boots.

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As the officers all smiled at the camera, the babies did their own thing.

A few infants were captured looking away in the distance, while others sucked on their own fingers.

“It’s important that we support our families,” Sheriff Dave Marshak told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “For us, this is good.”

As for how the officers all managed to expand their families at the same time, the department jokes that it’s due to Proposition P — a property tax increase that county voters passed in April 2018, St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The initiative provided more resources and raises for the sheriff’s office.

“I think it’s more than a coincidence,” Sgt. Matt Moore said of the baby boom to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It certainly gives you a lot more flexibility in starting a family if you’ve got more income. Kids aren’t getting any cheaper these days.”

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Proposition P has also allowed more officers to go on paternity leave, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“I don’t know how we would have afforded this without [Proposition P],” Deputy A.J. Kausler’s wife Baileigh Kausler said. The couple welcomed their first child — a baby girl named Lucy four months ago.

“I would not have been able to take 12 weeks off without Prop P either,” Baileigh said.

The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.