ATLANTA — The Atlanta Police Department is welcoming a new batch of recruits at a time crime is considered to be at a crisis level in Atlanta. The 272nd class included 20 new officers who graduated on Tuesday at City Hall in downtown Atlanta.
“We update our training regularly and our equipment. So, I’d say they’re a lot more equipped to hit the street than I was when I hit the streets," the recruitment class coordinator, Justin Andreson, said.
The department requires recruits to undergo more than 900 hours of training over nine months, even though the state only requires 400.
“Our citizens expect more from us, and we have the most officers in Georgia, so we need to train them better," Andreson said.
At the start of the year, Mayor Andre Dickens pledged to hire a total of 250 officers by the end of 2022. As of last week, the department had filled 76 of those spots, which means they are still 174 spots left to fill.
“I wouldn’t say it puts more pressure on us because we want to put officers on the streets to help our community," APD Recruitment Class Trainer Andre Hartley said.
The most recent data from the Atlanta Police Department shows that homicides are up by 32%, rapes are up by 16%, and aggravated assaults are up by 3%. But these new officers are looking the build the kind of community relationships that turn those trends around.
“Honest to God, we can’t do our jobs without the help of the public. So when officers get to scenes, we're working to have them them understand they need to talk to the public. And that way the public will be more willing to talk and give information that’s needed to turn this crime rate around.”
As far as when these recruits will be on the streets, officials said their first day in their respected zones was Wednesday.