Hattiesburg Police Academy recruits jog home stretch - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Hattiesburg Police Academy recruits jog the home stretch

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) -

Hattiesburg Police Academy recruits are coming into the home stretch – literally.

Tuesday the 10 recruits left standing after 15 weeks of grueling officer training completed their final five-mile run through Hattiesburg. The recruits took off from the Lakeview Pistol Range at 1 p.m., headed down Main Street - to end with a cool down and stretches at the Hattiesburg Police Department.

The recruits will graduate to become officers in a ceremony to be held on Friday. The run is an academy tradition that marks the final week, as recruits close in on joining the force.

Chief Frazier Bolton said he is looking forward to having more manpower at the department. "I feel real good," said Bolton."That will put us closer to gaining our number and having full staff." HPD has been struggling to maintain the 140 officers on the force that it is budgeted for over the last year, as officers leave for more lucrative jobs, those in the reserves are dispatched on military orders, or officers drop out in the face of long hours, stressful conditions and dangerous work. "We'll be nine short once this class graduates," said Bolton.

More than half of the recruits that started the academy dropped out - leaving only ten remaining. Most threw in the towel in the first weeks of the academy in January - which officers say are the hardest - but what would have been the eleventh recruit dropped out just last week.

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