Albany-- Albany Police say more cops will make the city safer. After an agressive recruiting campaign, the Department is closer to having a full force. Earlier this year, APD had several dozen vacancies to fill. Monday night, a room full of new officers took the oath to protect and serve.
Bags are plenty this time of year and so is crime. Some shoppers proceed to the mall with caution.
"Make sure I'm paying attention to my surroundings a little better because of these two little ones," said Stacey Barnes.
Along with the holiday spirit in the air, another thing also lingers with many people. Are we safe? Some say not so much. "Too many crimes. Too many breakins, too many things. People getting hurt," said Bennett Diamond.
But now people in Albany may be able to feel a little safer. Albany Police will put several more officers on the streets. They swear. "So help me God," chimed 26 officers as they were sworn in Monday night.
" Congratulations you are now new officers," said Magistrate Court Judge Denise Marshall.
The new officers received their APD pins and took the vow to protect and serve the Good Life City. 26-year-old Stephen Strickland is eager to take that vow into action.
"I'm ready to hit the streets," said Strickland. Not only will the officers soon be hitting the streets, they're also helping to fill a long-time shortage in the department. When Chief James Younger arrived, he says there were more than 40 vacancies.
"I didn't know how quickly I could fill the gap. I do know I put a tremendous number of resources into recruiting," said Younger. It worked and it's good news for people concerned about safety here.
"Well that's good. They need to put more than that out there," said Diamond. "It makes me feel safer," said Barnes. Every little bit counts when it comes to reducing crime.
APD recruitment teams reached out to colleges, military bases and all over for new applicants. With these new recruits, that brings the number of vacancies down to just 5. That may go up to 10 however when people retire at the end of the year.
Chief Younger says 16 new officers will be out on patrol by the first of January. About two months after that, 9 more officers will join them when they finish field training.