Lori Fullbright, News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- A new police academy began Monday in Tulsa. The city will have 42 new police officers on the streets, after they complete six months of intense physical and psychological training.
This is the first academy in two years and the first since officer layoffs last year.
The cadets have come from all over the country to be officers in Tulsa. They've been handpicked after going through interviews, physical testing, psychological testing and background checks.
They're about to face six months of tough training, training that will push them and test them and see if they have what it takes.
"I want to welcome you. You are about to embark on a journey to become a member of one of the finest police departments in the nation," Tulsa Police Chief Chuck Jordan told the cadets.
One of those cadets is Demetrios Treantafles, from Chicago. He has a sociology degree and is the oldest of four kids and the first to leave the nest and is ready to follow in his father's footsteps.
"As far back as I can remember, I was playing with putting the gunbelt on as a kid," he said. "It's something I've always wanted, set my mind to it, prepared my whole life for this."
He's a little nervous about the next six months, but ready to learn, ready to serve and ready, if need be, to die for his newly adopted community.
"Every day, we're going to be putting our lives on the line," Demetrios said. "I feel it's my duty as a person, as a citizen, to get into law enforcement and give back to the community."
The first step is to learn what his new chief expects of him and the 41 other new recruits. The chief addressed the recent corruption scandal that's rocked the department and said changing that is his top priority.
"Number one is to be integrity. Honesty is what we are, in dealing with the public, with the courts, with each other. I expect absolute honesty," Chief Jordan said.
He said he also expects courage, dedication and an attitude of service toward the community. Demtrios says he and his classmates are ready to deliver.
"I want to do everything in my power that's going to allow me to be the best police officer I can be for this city," he said.
Around 80 officers have left the department in the last two years, so the new class still doesn't get the department back to 2009 staffing levels.
Beginning officers make around $42,000 a year.