CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) - The Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department's largest recruit class of 48 men and women reported for duty Monday. It's the biggest class for CMPD since 2015 and they all want to be police officers.
"That's the first requirement. You have to want to do the job," said Captain Dave Johnson who oversees the department's training and recruiting. This class is the result of about six months of recruiting and sorting through 2,000 applications.
Johnson turned to social media and other non-traditional advertising avenues to reach future police officers.
"This group of 48 is the largest class we have had since 2015 and we think that's a direct result in money we have spent in marketing and improvements we have made in the recruiting process," said Johnson.
The class, Johnson says, is a reflection of the community. "It's a slice of society. We have college graduates, military folks, teachers, truck drivers, young people and people in their 30s and 40s. It's as a diverse class as we have had in a long time," said Johnson describing the 183rd recruit class.
The class is about 56% minority and women. Over the next 25 weeks the 36 men and 12 women will work to earn their badges. They will going through a lot of scenario based training which includes time on the driving pad and time out on the shooting range. "It centers around de-escalation and how to get people to comply without using force," said Johnson.
As of last week CMPD was short 206 officers. The number changes based on retirement, retention and recruitment. While this large class is a step in the right direction, the job never stops for Johnson as he is always searching for Charlotte's finest.
"Be the difference. If you really want to make a difference in your community don't just give it lip service. These folks are doing it by joining and signing up," said Johnson.
The badges these men and women are working to earn are hanging in their classroom as motivation.
CMPD accepts applications the first ten days of every month.