COLORADO SPRINGS, CO — Colorado Springs Police Department welcomes 38 new officers to the force after graduating from the police academy on Thursday.
The recruits- 36 men and two women- completed 28 weeks of training to receive their badges and represent 17 different states, including Guam and Puerto Rico. Police say bringing on the new recruits will help them fill gaps in the number of patrol officers on the streets, but they still have a long way to go.
"We're not in a position where we can add specialized units yet or really add to the existing units. We need to really backfill that robust patrol response so that we have folks that can handle regular day-to-day call for services," said Commander Jeff Strossner.
Mayor John Suthers and four Colorado Springs council members attended the graduation ceremony. Mayor Suthers said the department hopes to reach 821 officers by the end of the year. Strossner said they're nowhere close.
"We're going to go into continuous hiring beginning next year. Another 15 weeks later, another Academy will start and we will be in that pattern until we can reach our full staffing," he said.
The recruits will go straight to patrol after 15 more weeks of training alongside another officer. Devan Raemisch, one of the new recruits, is joining the department straight out of college and is the youngest recruit at 22 years old. She said she always knew she wanted to join law enforcement and said she hopes to uphold her responsibility as an officer.
"We want to be a part of the community. We don't want to be better than it. We want to be with it and I think that's really important," Raemisch said.
The 74th Police Officer Class brings many experiences to the department including:
- 6 graduates can speak a foreign language
- They come from 17 different states, to include Puerto Rico & Guam
- 21 graduates have served, or are currently serving, in the Armed Forces
- 1 graduate holds a Master’s degree, 19 hold Bachelor’s degrees, 9 hold Associate degrees, and the remaining graduates have some form of college experience
- A total of 11 have prior law enforcement experience
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