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      Albany Police to start new recruiting initiative

      Albany Police Chief John Proctor is partnering with all three local colleges in an effort to recruit graduates interested in a career in the police force.

      The police department would process each student in the criminal justice field, and if they pass requirements, they will be able to take an internship at the station. An internship would count the same as if they had gone to the police academy to be trained. If they pass, they graduate pre-certified and can work at any station in the state.

      Best of all, the training would be at no cost to the city. Normally the city would pay salary and benefits in addition to the $3,000 cost of training. This way, students are not on the payroll until they graduate.

      APD is 20 men short of being fully staffed, but they have good prospects"they will be sending 10 men to the academy in January and will start processing another 14. Their trouble lies in the fact that many candidates drop out or fail academy when it comes to firearms training or maneuvering a vehicle strategically.

      Another incentive for students is, if they graduate with an AA degree and graduate from the program, they could get tuition assistance from the city to finish a four year degree or post graduate degree.

      There's nothing more important to us as academic administrators than to have a prepared workforce and a workforce that stays in southwest Georgia, says Albany State University President Everett Freeman.

      This gives us an opportunity to develop a career and educational ladder with the three colleges, from certificate to diploma, through associate's degree and into bachelor TMs and master's degrees, says Dr. Anthony Parker, president of Albany Technical College.

      Colleges hope to begin the program in January.