JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Jonesboro's newest police officers graduated from the law enforcement training academy Friday afternoon.
"We will run into the fire. We will run to the threat. The police will hold the line with pride on our chest," graduating class speaker Michael Talley said.
The group of officers was the first to graduate from the department's in-house training academy.
The purpose of holding the academy in Jonesboro, as opposed to sending recruits to BRTC's Law Enforcement Training Academy in Pocahontas, was to get the officers trained sooner and on the street faster.
"We started our academy in December, they graduated today as opposed to the group at Pocahontas that started the second week in January," Jonesboro Police Chief Rick Elliott said.
Chief Elliott explained that staffing issues over the past few months forced their hand in holding an in-house academy.
Though seven new officers took the oath Friday, Jonesboro Police Department Public Information Specialist Paul Holmes said the department still has eight vacancies to fill.
Holmes added that two officers are on military leave and two are on medical leave.
Chief Elliott said they'll be testing for another round of new hires on March 5.
"We will host another academy and hopefully that will get us out of the hole on the number of officers that we're short," Chief Elliott said.
As for the seven who graduated Friday, they have three months worth of field training to complete before they hit the streets on their own to protect and serve.
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