MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Surrounded by friends and family, a total of six men and women joined the West Memphis Police Department Friday. The recruits just completed a 15-week training academy.
"A lot of time. A lot of effort. A lot of sweat. A lot of tears,” said West Memphis Assistant Police Chief Robert Langston
Langston says a six-person graduating class is typical, but they usually start with 40 or 50 applicants.
"Take a written test and that weeds out a lot of people then we get to the interviews and that weeds out any more,” said Langston.
The graduating class comes less than a month after city council voted in favor of investing $12 million into the city.
Growing the police force is just another part of the growth West Memphis Mayor Marco McClendon is pushing for.
"I want them to know that if they're going to come in to serve and protect this city they're going to have full support of city hall behind them,” said McClendon.
City leaders also say recruiting officers can be a challenge, but keeping officers close to home is an incentive.
“We're recruiting against Memphis. We're recruiting against Southaven. We're recruiting against Germantown, Jonesboro. We have to offer things that other people can't offer and if we can hire from within our community they're already home,” said Langston.
Friday’s graduates are all from the Mid-South.
“There's nothing like serving the city that you were born and raised in. I think you get a different level of protection and patrolling,” said McClendon.
West Memphis city leaders have plans for a new courthouse, police substation, library and two new fire stations. Construction is scheduled to start in the next few months.