City Makes Room for All Police Recruits - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/8/05

City Makes Room for All Police Recruits

They were told there wasn't enough money for them, but now, 25 police recruits who thought they had lost their jobs are back in the academy.

It was a 7-0 vote from city council to give every recruit the opportunity to begin the academy that starts in two weeks. When the decision was read, recruits sighed a sigh of relief and cheered for the decision.

Recruit Jacob Opperman told the council, "I worked all weekend on a letter to tell how disappointed I was, but now I am just so thankful."

Just days before recruits were asking the council to keep them on an eligibility list, now they're back on track to becoming officers. Recruit Gerardo Garcia said, "I've been given a chance it was gone a few days ago, and I'm going to take advantage of it."

Councilman Jim Gilbreth started the meeting with a new budget plan that would keep the class of 45 together. Keeping the recruits together will save taxpayers money by not overlapping background costs and not paying for two academies. It will also get the city closer to its goal of two officers per one thousand citizens.

Police chief Claude Jones says, "Every citizen will benefit. We are going to realign beats, and there will be a reduction in crime and response time."

Recruits are relieved to get the opportunity, but know that this is just step one, to making the force.

The council says public safety is their number one priority, and this portion of the budget not only allowed 45 new police recruits, but also added 18 new firefighter positions, and gave fire fighters a 4% raise. The council had to eliminate 12 administrative positions in the city. They are also streamlining some departments and doing audits to see where they can be more efficient.

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