Fitness

Providence police recruit for 70th academy – News – providencejournal.com

More officers are needed for labor-intensive policing initiatives such as foot patrols, which business leaders on Atwells Avenue have credited with helping tamp down issues after dark.

The Providence Police Department, its leaders often say, is where the action takes place.

Case in point: As top department commanders, the mayor, the public safety commissioner, community members, the mounted command horses, K9 units and even a police boat were assembled on the Dexter Training Ground to highlight an officer-recruiting drive, a siren went off in the distance. Some people started to quietly leave.

A broad-daylight home invasion had just taken place down the street, and a SWAT team was on the way.

The Providence Police Department, said Col. Hugh T. Clements Jr., is the type of place where an officer will see more things in one year than he or she will see in 20 years in any other department in the state.

“This is the greatest job in all of New England,” Clements said.

Clements and other city leaders gathered on Friday at the Dexter Training Ground to urge people to join up. The event was aimed at getting the word out about applying for the 70th police department training academy.

The application for the academy will be open until Dec. 31. Applications are available online. The selection process involves a physical-fitness assessment, written and oral exams, a background check and a psychological evaluation before entering the academy.

The academy is 24 weeks long, with 812 hours of training on everything from community policing to emergency vehicle operation.

The department now has 437 sworn members, from Clements down to the most recent academy graduates, some of whom formed a tidy row behind the speakers.

The department is authorized, but not funded, for 490 officers, Public Safety Commissioner Steven M. Paré said. Paré called for a “bold, diverse and tenacious group of individuals” to join the department.

“We can always do more with more,” Paré said. “Another academy will certainly help in our mission.”

More officers are needed for labor-intensive policing initiatives such as foot patrols, which business leaders on Atwells Avenue have credited with helping tamp down issues after dark.

Although homicides in the city are up this year compared to last, they’re still historically low compared to past years, and overall crime so far this year is down, even in a year following the safest on record in FBI data, police officials said.

Among those speaking at the event Friday was Cheryl Burrell, an associate director at the Department of Administration who leads the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She commended the Providence police’s efforts in diversifying its ranks, which, she said, didn’t compromise standards, but enhanced them.

“We know there is talent in every community,” she said. “Nothing is compromised — I would say diversity enhances our ability to not only reflect the community we’re here to serve, but to do it in a much more efficient and a better way.”

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