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Baltimore Searches For More Police Officers

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore is in need of new police officers. A growing city and greater scrutiny of law enforcement has made entry into the department selective and demanding. Kai Jackson has inside access to the recruiting process.

The Baltimore City police department is looking for a few good men and women.

“The goal is to prepare these men and women to be the best police officers we can possibly make them,” said Baltimore City Police Lt. Alonzo Moreland.

And they allowed WJZ to get a glimpse into their world by sampling the process of becoming a cop.

There are roughly 3,000 officers on the force. The number they recruit each year varies, depending upon things like retirement and need but it could be anywhere from 30 to 300 candidates. The starting salary is just over $41,000. To get your badge, you first have to pass a background check.

Police tell Eyewitness News in 2010, nearly 3,000 men and women applied to be city cops, but for some reason, many just didn’t make the cut. The brass tells us the problem isn’t finding applicants. Their problem is finding qualified applicants.

“I think essentially you want someone of good character,” Moreland said.

Then there’s a battery of tests. First, there’s a civil service exam.

“I think that’s the only mentality we should have is get the best on the street,” said recruit Patrick McCarthy.

Next, applicants must pass a grueling physical training, or PT test. WJZ spent the day with recruit class #1103. The training is physically and mentally demanding; teamwork is the only way to succeed.

Once cadets are in the academy, they also have to pass a driving test.

“This is a simulated training too that we use to educate our officers about scenario-based training, decision-making,” said firearms instructor Sgt. Sean Brown.

And all candidates and current cops must qualify to use a weapon. But commanders say a cop’s greatest weapon isn’t in a holster.

“Listen, this is a tool. That’s all this is. This is your true weapon. We really push that,” said range master Lt. John Cromwell.

“The reading, the studying. The expectations are definitely high,” said police cadet Jomari Crespo.

Wednesday, Eyewitness News will see what happens when officers will have to make split-second decisions on the street.

The Baltimore City Police Department requires applicants to have at least a high school diploma or GED. To learn more about how to join, click here.

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