HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg Police Department has kicked off the most recent academy with recruit class 33.
Currently the department has 95 officers on the roster, and with this class they are hoping to add a few more.
"Our goal right now is, we're slotted for 126," Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler said. "The city council has told us that if we reach that 126 total, they will give us the additional (funding) to go up to 140."
The academy started with 16, and nearing the end of the first day, they were down to 12.
"What we graduate is going to be the best of the best, we'd rather have five qualified, rather than 12 that are not fully qualified," Traxler said.
The 17-week academy is structured to challenge the recruits mentally and physically, from firearms training to any and all aspects the cadets would see on a daily beat as a police officer.
Traxler added that adding new officers to the department would help combat crime across the Hub City, by allowing officers to spread out more.
"At the end of the day, having somebody's who's not qualified, makes it more of a burden for ourselves than having someone who is qualified and having a lower number," Traxler said.