Largest Oklahoma City Police Department recruiting class ever begins police academy

OKLAHOMA CITY - On Friday, the 138th Oklahoma City Police Academy kicked off.

This year is the largest class in the department's history with 72 recruits hoping to serve.

"Right now, they're all individual people but, hopefully, at the end of the academy, they'll all be one big group," said Lt. Silvio Kimmel.

The 60 men and 12 women make up the largest class in the department's history.

Officials said they've seen some attrition recently and have jobs to fill.

Some of the recruits have prior law enforcement experience, for others - Kimmel said it's been a dream for years.

"There's one individual that this is her third academy," he said. "She's very dedicated to be a police officer, so that's why she's doing this three times."

For others - it doesn't take long to learn it isn't the best option for them.

Typically, about 20-25 percent of recruits drop out during the academy. From day one - they learn how tough the next 28 weeks will be.

"It takes a certain person to do it and, as we go through the process, some people decide that it's not for them," Kimmel said.

The tough talk does has a purpose, though.

"When you go out on calls, it's not always people talking to you," Kimmel said. "There's yelling and screaming, and we're asked to come into a chaotic situation and restore order, so that's what we try to do."

Restoring order is not simple.

The recruits will soon go through classes on things like how to handle legal matters, community services and criminal matters. After that, they go through up to for-six months of field training.

All of it - time officers never forget.

"I remember every bit of it," Kimmel said. "It always brings back good memories and bad memories sometimes, but it's a process and we expect to be what we are and best and make them professional and make sure they can function out in the street."

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