Forty-five cadets have begun intensive training in the first Akron Police Academy since the city ended its training program in 2008 due to budget cuts.
The Akron Police Department anticipates boosting its numbers by about 10% in the next six months.
This year’s class includes several women and older cadets, after the city earlier this year announced it would encourage diversity by raising the cut-off age for recruits from 35 years old to 40.
Out of more than 1,000 applicants, Akron chose 40 men and five women to join the academy. The department also says one of every five recruits is black.
Officer Brian Boss is a member of the training team.
"We're vested in their learning because they’re potentially our backup out on the streets," Boss said. "It’s more of a family atmosphere, but just like any family we're very tough on each other. So we’re going to expect a lot out of them."
Previously, police cadets trained for 24 weeks without pay. Now, the new recruits will be paid by the hour.
Major Michael Caprez said the training cadets receive will be Akron-centric.
"What makes it different for us to have our own academy is we get to imprint Akron at every step of the process," Caprez said. "We’re going to teach the subject matter that the state wants us to teach them and then we're going to take it a step further and tell people how we want people to be treated by Akron police officers. That’s important to us."
When the current class is done training six month from now, Akron’s police force will number 469 officers.