Fort Wayne, Ind. (WANE) – The Fort Wayne Police Department graduated its 60th recruit class Friday evening.
In June 2013, the Fort Wayne City Council approved a tax increase that allowed for the department to begin the recruitment process. The class of 15 recruits went through a rigorous 20-week training program. They completed 850 hours of classroom instruction and real-world scenarios.
Public Safety Director Rusty York says all 15 men and women will become probationary patrol officers across the city. He said these officers will help the department become more proactive in reducing crime and violence in the community.
The department has a maximum capacity of 460 officers, but with retirements, they’ve been operating below that number. However, the department was also awarded a national grant that will fund another recruitment class beginning in January 2015. With the newest academy class and the upcoming class, the department will reach its maximum officer potential.
“I’m sure that that’s going to help with our crime reduction, getting new officers, more officers out here patrolling the streets,” Deputy Chief of the Southeast Division, Derrick Westfield said.
Diversity has also been a big push in the department. The new class has 13 men and two women, two African-Americans, an officer of Asian descent and a mixed-race officer. Officers on the Department said diversity is important because our community is diverse, so there should be as much representation of all groups as possible.
The officers sworn in Friday will begin work on Monday.