OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – With more than 150 officer positions open, the Oklahoma City Police Department began its 143rd police academy today.
While 25 recruits see if they have what it takes to wear the badge – the department is hoping to recruit more people to fill the roles needed.
OKCPD says 23 men and two women are signed up for the 28-week academy.
It includes 1,000 hours of training.
“That’s going to include mental health training, de-escalation, control and defense tactics,” said Sgt. Megan Morgan, Oklahoma City Police Dept. Recruiting Sgt. “It’s going to include training in driving or firearms, in traffic.”
The hope is that at least a portion of these recruits will fill the more than 150 open positions.
“It seems like a high number but it’s not an overtly high number,” Morgan said.
Sgt. Megan Morgan says the openings are due, in large part, to retirements.
Additionally, the department has its highest budget ever – and the city council approved unfreezing several positions.
“We’re really lucky here in Oklahoma City because we have a community that stands behind us,” Morgan said. “We have a city council that supports us.”
This, even after a year that saw protests and unrest after the killing of George Floyd – some, last summer, happening right outside of OKCPD Headquarters.
“We want the public to know that here in Oklahoma City we aren’t experiencing the same problems other places are. It’s a great community to serve,” said Morgan. “We’re hopeful that if anyone has that desire, they have a desire to serve their community, they have a high ethical, moral standard – we want to meet them.”
As these recruits are tested – they’ll soon find out just how badly they want the job.
Tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the department will hold a recruiting event at the Oklahoma City Police Training Center at 800 N. Portland.
There, those interested in becoming an officer can ask questions, run the obstacle course and try out the firearms simulator.