DENVER -- For the first time in five years, the Denver Police Department is holding its first academy class. Due to budget cuts, the department hasn't hired any officers since 2008. There are currently more than 100 openings.
Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said the passage of Measure 2A allowed the city to hire new officers this year.
“A smart city is one that strives to prevent crime, and thanks to Denver voters, we can put more officers out on the street to better keep Denver’s neighborhoods secure and protected,” Hancock said.
But first, they must pass the academy. It is 26 weeks filled with learning in the classroom, meeting physical requirements and dealing with high stress.
“We just try to get on them right away, just to get them used to that anxiety and working under pressure," Sgt. Kevin Bray said. "Academically, they`re going to spend a lot of time studying. There's a lot of laws to be learned, policies and procedures they need to understand. Physically, it’s going to be trying for them. And then just emotionally.”
Not everyone will make it through. Captain Rhonda Jones, who oversees the academy said, “This can be the best of the best, but it is up to them to make it that. We can’t do it for them. It has to come from inside.”
The 30 recruits in this class include people from all walks of life. Some have law enforcement experience. Others, like Alexis Aranda, do not. She was a banker before deciding to make the jump.
“I always liked the detective work," she said. "I like the excitement and the adrenaline.”
Brenton Sellars also comes from the financial industry.
“Honestly, I have three kids and one day I plan to have grandkids and honestly I just want to make this a better place,” he said.
FOX31 Denver is documenting the academy. Watch for stories on the recruits, the instructors and the training in the coming weeks.