16 Cadets Graduate From Tulsa Police Academy
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Tulsa Police Academy graduated 16 men and women graduated Friday morning. That's fewer graduates than usual in an academy class, and the next class will be even smaller.
There's always the balance between what you want and what you can afford, and for the city, that's how it works with the police department.
Even under the best of budgets, ceremonies like this happen only once a year or so. But it's been a long time since the City of Tulsa has had enough money to fill up the academy. The last class was in 2012.
Major Rob Turner with the Tulsa Police said, "We would certainly like to graduate more, to be ahead of attrition if possible."
Over the last decade the police academy class sizes have dwindled. Back in 2005, one class had 45 recruits. Now there are sometimes yearlong gaps between graduations; and the average class is less than 20 officers.
At least for Friday, the force is growing.
"It's definitely one amazing accomplishment," said Officer Angela Emberton. "We've been through a great 27 weeks and we're looking forward to getting out there."
The new officers pinned on their badges, but they're not done with training. They still have 16 weeks to go with other officers as mentors in the field.
Turner, an officer since 1979, said these officers are trained to do more than ever before.
"It's a tough job for these young officers to be able to translate all those skills they've learned during the academy back out onto the job," Turner said.
The job ahead of these officers is certain to difficult, but one of the leaders of the class said they're all ready.
"My dad was a police officer, so I was introduced to it when I was young, so I was familiar with it and there's the opportunity to help people in the community," Officer Jason Angel said.
The next class starts in May, but it's even smaller with just 13 recruits. After that, there's not another class in the budget for next year.