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BRPD opens its doors for new recruits, hopes to fill over 60 positions

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BATON ROUGE- The Baton Rouge Police Department opened their doors Saturday with the goal of finding new men and women to join the force.

Officer Simon Newsome was among dozens of people who turned out for BRPD's "Meet the Fleet" recruitment event.

"I want to make this a safer community for myself, my family, and my loved ones," Newsome told WBRZ.

Newsome has law enforcement in his blood. "I have a large family. A lot of police officers and military members are in my family," he said.

The Baton Rouge Police Department currently has more than sixty openings. Battling with other police departments who also have open positions, BRPD can competitively offer more than the typical $32,000/year starting pay in Baton Rouge.

But Baton Rouge's new police chief Murphy Paul says the problem is more than just money.

"When we look at our minority communities, when we have issues in community police relations in those areas, that has an impact on recruiting because the young men and women who live in those areas don't want to be police officers," Paul told WBRZ.

And not everyone who wants to a be a police officer can be. Recruiters are looking for certain qualities in a person before they are allowed to join the force. Honesty and integrity are two key components, but recruiters say qualities like that are hard to find because of the negative image police officers often get.

"We're trying to change that image, and we're trying to make a start right here with the Baton Rouge Police Department," recruiting Officer Woodard said.

The department has two academies underway, and the next recruiting class could help significantly reduce the number of openings it's currently attempting to fill.

If you'd like to apply, you can pick up an application at the Baton Rouge Police headquarters on Airline Highway. The deadline to apply for the next academy is Monday, Jan. 22.

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