Recruits ready for the challenge

The 134th recruit class of the Columbus Police Department graduated on Feb. 12. They will now receive 15 weeks of intensive field training.

The newest class of Columbus Police recruits graduated on Feb. 12 at the CPD Training Academy on Hague Avenue. The 134th police recruit class consists of 39 future Columbus Police officers and seven recruits who will serve with six outside agencies.

The recruits walked into the academy on July 13, 2020, during a period of unprecedented change. Their training began in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and shorty after weeks of protest around the issues of policing and race.

Columbus Police Deputy Chief Jennifer Knight said through it all, they remained focused and dedicated to their goal of becoming sworn officers.

“Given the extraordinary circumstances and timing of their training, you wouldn’t believe how positive and excited these recruits have stayed about completing the academy and serving their communities,” Knight said.

The class navigated extensive COVID-19 protocols, infections and recovery of both students and staff, and a period of remote learning. The pandemic also means they graduated without their loved ones present.

The 134th class includes 38.7 percent female and minority representation.

Other distinctions:

• This is the first class whose training integrated community panels for discussions about how some groups interact with the police and the challenges of policing a diverse community. Panels of African American community members, survivors of human trafficking and others provided an opportunity for the class to connect with groups they will engage in their positions as patrol officers.

• This is the first class that will have a probationary period that will extend for a year following their graduation

• This is the first class that will continue their immersion training and will be required to work closely with community members to identify a problem, create a program to address the problem, and implement a solution with the community as part of a community engagement project

• This class will now receive 15 weeks of intensive field training with field training officers all over the city.

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