HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – The 38th Hattiesburg Police recruit class has started to become police officers. For the next 17 weeks, members will be put through different challenges.
Chief Anthony Parker said everything they do is depended on the numbers in their force.
“We can’t do anything without personal, and that’s one of the things that I am proud of in my career here. We’ve had five academy’s since I been here. This will be my sixth academy, and our members at 103 right now and increasing,” Parker stated.
Hattiesburg Mayor Toby Barker said this is great for the city.
“Hattiesburg is blessed to have its own public safety academy for both fire and police, and we are able to mold and shape and train officers further than what the state academy can do. So it really gives our public confidence knowing that the officers we put out on the street are the best trained in the state of Mississippi,” said the mayor.
The state of Mississippi requires 480 hours, but this class will put in 200 additional hours.
“We have a very small class. Our goal is to reach 120 officers, and if we have to do it seven at a time, that’s what we are going to do,” said Captain Tony Fontaine.
“One goal that Chief Parker and I had was to grow manpower over these past 3.5 to 4 years. So moving to two academies per year has been in the pipeline. So this the first year we have had two academies in the same year. So it’s going to be a staple for us as we go forward,” said Barker.
After they graduate, the new officers will be assigned to various districts across Hattiesburg.