The Atlanta Police Department graduated 21 new officers Wednesday night during a year the department says it has seen a significant drop in applications.
So far this year, APD has received 2,068 applications compared to 5,064 in all of 2011.
Monday night during a meeting at Clark Atlanta University, Chief George Turner and several other ranking officers talked about the difficulty in recruiting new officers. During the 2-hour panel discussion with college students and faculty, police said they are working hard to help the community better understand the work officers do and to encourage citizens to become officers.
Of the new officers who graduated Wednesday night, there were 19 men and 2 women. Four of the new officers have military experience and 10 are college graduates.
The graduation ceremony concludes 22 weeks of rigorous training at the Atlanta Police Academy, along with 12 weeks of field training with veteran officers. The training also includes classroom courses in constitutional law, Atlanta Police Department policy and procedure, hands-on defensive tactics, arrest techniques and daily physical fitness.
Monday evening, members of the panel described the training as some of the most rigorous in the country.
Number of applications the Atlanta Police Department has received:
2016: 2068 YTD