DeKalb Co. hiring dozens of new police officers - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

DeKalb Co. hiring dozens of new police officers

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DECATUR, Ga. -

DeKalb County is looking for a few good police officers.  In fact, they are looking for more than a few.  The department plans to fill 80 jobs by the end of the year.  If you're interested, you should come prepared for some heavy-duty training.

DeKalb County Police Training Academy instructor Tracy Rucker greets new candidates.  He's not one to sugarcoat the job or how to get it.  

"This is some intensive training," he said.  "You're going to work hard and you're going to earn everything you get."

Rucker is ready for new recruits, and DeKalb County will soon provide them.  Lt. Consuela Howard says the community asked for stronger police presence, and the county responded.  They are adding 80 new officers to the force.

"We want anybody and everybody that has the heart to do this job," she said.  "If you have the heart to try--if you have the heart to try, we have the people to train you."

She says they want the candidates to reflect the diversity of the county.  Secondary language skills are a plus, and so is higher education.  Military backgrounds are welcome, and experienced officers may be eligible for abbreviated training.

Howard says people skills are very important, and they're looking for people who care about the community.  

Recruit Josh Durden tells FOX 5's Mike Daly he had a lot of agencies he could have chosen, but he used to live in DeKalb County.  

"I wanted to come back here and serve the community and protect out here versus going anywhere else," Durden explained.  

But first, he has to make it through the academy, and the training is intense.  

Once they hire and train the new officers, the county wants to keep them.  Beyond salary and benefits, the county will offer college incentives.  Lt. Howard, an 18-year veteran, says that what's behind the uniform is what will keep officers with the department.

"The question is, why did you become a DeKalb County police officer?" and I think because of pride," she said.  

The starting salary for a new DeKalb County police officer is $36,700 a year.  For more information on the next academy in November, click here.

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