Posted: Aug 22, 2011 6:11 PM by Kristy Davis
Updated: Aug 22, 2011 6:52 PM
BATON ROUGE - New Baton Rouge Police recruits practiced their drills in an un-air conditioned gym on the first day of the city's long-awaited police academy.
"So far since this morning they've absolutely shocked me and surprised me, but in a good way," said Cadet Chris Beall.
It took two years, a new police chief, and more than $2.6 million to reach this point. Chief Dewayne White says the lack of recruits stretched current officers thin, keeping officers from community policing.
The 25 new recruits will mean more help to the force, and peace of mind for people like Greg Frank who just moved to Baton Rouge.
"It gives me a little comfort, just having the visibility," he said. "The presence I think is a good thing."
Chief White said even with the new class of cadets, he needs more officers to make community involvement a priority.
White will meet with the mayor, sheriff, and area pastors in September to discuss crime in the city. He's also advocating a mentorship program allowing police officers to mentor kids in the community.