Albany Police Department Chief John Proctor, right, talks with Albany State University President Everette Freeman Wednesday. The APD is partnering with higher institutions of learning to identify new recruits.
ALBANY, Ga. — Next year, a new initiative will be launched that officials hope will bring in more local recruits to the Albany Police Department.
The APD has partnered with Albany State University, Darton College and Albany Technical College to identify students who might make good additions to the force.
The potential candidates will be those who have already expressed an interest in a law enforcement career, officials say.
“We felt that if we went into institutions and brought in students from their criminal justice programs, those people would be in the best frame of mind for the job,” said APD Chief John Proctor.
“It’s important these folks already have an interest in it. This is something you have to want to do.”
Beginning early next year, the program will call for students to be identified near the end of their run at their respective institutions. In their last semester, they will go through an internship.
“This allows them to put some skin to the ground,” Proctor said. “These folks have spent some time here, and they have an idea of the landscape of the city.”
A news conference, which was attended by Albany Tech President Anthony Parker, Albany State President Everette Freeman and Manswell Peterson, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Darton, was held Wednesday to formally announce the initiative.
The officials from the three institutions praised the idea, saying that it would provide potential police officers with a more well-rounded education to prepare them for the job, and that it would benefit the community for decades to come.
“This gives us (an opportunity) to develop a career and education ladder,” said Parker. “This gives an opportunity that not a lot of communities have.”
Darton has 390 students in its criminal justice program. Albany State and Albany Tech have 450 students and 421 students in their criminal justice programs, respectively.
In order to join the APD ranks, these students will have to meet all necessary requirements and successfully complete the department’s training program.
They will also get help early on in problem areas to increase their odds of making it through the training.
“When people don’t pass, it has usually not been the academics,” Proctor said. “It has been the firearms and driving training.
“Those are two high-liability areas. They have to pass those areas or they don’t get out of the academy.”
The APD recently added two academy graduates and has six candidates in field training. Ten other candidates start training after the first of the year, and there are 14 pre-certified individuals currently being processed.
Program participants are expected to have completed all of their core curriculum requirements and commit to three years with the APD. The minimum starting salary is $33,155.