BIRMINGHAM, Ala (WIAT) — 30 new recruit officers will become Birmingham Police Officers at Friday’s graduation ceremony.
Birmingham Police Chief Patrick Smith said when he started, there were around 140 vacant positions. Now, he said they have about 60 to 70 open positions, cutting that number in half.
Chief Smith said in light of Wednesday night’s officer-involved-shooting, he wanted to make sure the new recruits are ready to answer the call to serve and protect the city of Birmingham.
The training to become a Birmingham police officer is intense, but necessary. Chief Smith said it’s not just about the physical aspect, but the emotional and mental too.
“I asked them previously are you sure you’re in the right job? Things will happen and the most important thing is that you’re here in this academy, we’re giving you this training to handle this circumstance and we need to let you know things will happen but you have a department that is here to support you,” said Chief Smith. “Officers will respond to make sure you have the backup you need and this is one family here along with our city and we’re going to do everything we can to support everyone.”
The next police academy class, which started July 8, has 36 recruit officers, 4 lateral officers, and 2 police cadets. According to Birmingham police, these are the first two young people to take advantage of the cadet program since Chief Smith announced earlier this year that he was starting a cadet program to increase opportunities for young people not yet 21 but interested in enrolling in the academy. This new class is the largest academy class in the last 10 years.
Friday’s ceremony will also include 26 officers being promoted.
The public is invited to the BPD Academy graduation and BPD promotional ceremony. The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on Friday, July 19 at the Bill Harris Arena.