Over the next several months, dozens of new faces will be added to the Jackson Police force. But before officers can serve and protect, they have to endure some intense training.
The Jackson Police Department's newest officers graduated in December 2011. But before officers are sworn into the force they have to go through 12 weeks of training.
26 men and women make-up JPD's 49th recruit class. This is the first week of training. Most days begin with physical activity to get the blood flowing.
"It's pretty much designed as a stress induced training, everything that we do is stress induced," said JPD Training Coordinator, Sgt. Joseph Wade.
Sgt. Wade said the stress is piled on because when officers hit the streets and are faced with crime scenes and life-threatening situations, they have to be able to handle the heat. "We do a lot of yelling at them a lot of screaming at them to see if they can handle working in a stressful environment."
Prior to even making it to training, candidates go through background checks, polygraph tests and psychological evaluations. Once they get to the training academy, they don't just go through physical stress, but academic pressure as well.
"From first aid to intoxilizer, radar, defensive driving, there's a lot of things required by the State of Mississippi for them to be certified as law enforcement officers," said Sgt. Wade.
In the first week of training one recruit has already dropped out. Sgt. Wade says on average 6 recruits don't make it to graduation.
"It's very hard on them because they have to leave their families on Sunday evening and they stay here until Friday evening" Wade added.
So far several recruits have received minor injuries and one went to the hospital. But Sgt. Wade said if the recruits make it through training the pain now will be worth it.
The new recruits are scheduled to graduate on April 6th. If all 26 recruits make it through training, the Jackson Police Department will have 497 officers. The goal is to have at least 525 officers by the end of the year.
If you're interested in becoming a JPD officer contact the department at 601-960-1378.
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