APD brings in a new brigade to man Albany streets

New officers on Albany streets. / Jessica Fairley

The Albany Police Department has extended opportunities for employment to 16 people who may one day man the streets of Albany.

The chosen 16 will now have to complete the police academy before they can officially become cops.

When Albany Police Chief John Proctor took office four years ago, he says his goal was to build a strong police force, while holding officers accountable for their actions.

"We had a large number of terminations because of bad behavior. Some of those I inherited that needed to be dealt with and I dealt with them," said Chief John Proctor.

Back then the police force was down by 51 men but today there are only a handful of positions to be filled.

"We don't hire just to give a person a job. They have to want to do this job because it's hard work and it requires them to be dedicated to the community," said Chief Proctor.

The process of hiring 16 officers started out with 320 applicants and only a select few made it to the initial interview.

"We actually showed up with 69 people who showed up testing and as time goes on we find that people dwindle within the process," said Gwen Broughton, APD Recruitment Officer.

For those 16 that make it to the academy, there's another round of testing.

"There are two portions that they absolutely have to pass and that is the firearms and the driving. If they don't do those, they will not pass and get the certification," Proctor said.

The chief says comparing the current state of the police force to where it was four years ago shows that the lengthy recruitment process is the key to building a dedicated force, which he says was his goal from day one.

"I wanted us to be accountable to this community and we have done that. I think that we've done that. We're not perfect but we're working at it every day," said Chief John Proctor.

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