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Officers vow to protect and serve

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April 2, 2007

Albany--  The Albany Police Department has long been fighting a personnel shortage, aggressively working to put more cops on the streets. Monday night, 16 more officers were sworn in.  People in Albany hope that leads to safer streets.

Megan Phillips is your average teenager.  She's spending Spring Break doing yard work.  But at the young age of 13, she's already a victim of crime.

"I saw somebody run through our yard," said Phillips, "I thought they were going to come inside and if they did they were going to hurt us."

Several people jumped the fence last week and began using sticks to bang on the house. They even attempted to steal her bike but left it damaged instead. Ever since then, she's been fearful.

"Don't like it. It was scary.  I just think it's senseless." said Phillips. The swearing in of 16 new Albany Police officers may reduce those senseless crimes. For one recruit, the need to serve runs in his blood.

"They inspired me to be a public servant," said Officer George Camp, Jr.

Camp has a sad inspiration to be an officer. His uncle 43-year-old Jack Camp was recently killed.

"With my Uncle Jack, he was never the talking type but it made me feel real good when I did start the academy. He told me he was proud of me and that was one of the few times he did and I wish he could have been there and I know he was there," said Camp.

Now new Officer Camp wants to use what happened to his uncle to be there for his fellow officers.

"I think of him in ways I can be safe, help others be safe, be there for them," said Camp. And he wants to help the Albany community feel safe.  Several graduates took the oath along with him to protect and serve.

"These officers will be working hard to help make the streets safer," said APD Chief James Younger.

That's good news for Megan. "I look a lot around constantly, just worried you know?," said Phillips.

Her worries may now be eased thanks to the brave ones who decided to dedicate their lives to the blue.

Recruits go through rigorous training, of which three graduated with honors. These new graduates are currently going through field training with seasoned officers for twelve weeks.  After that, they'll be officially on the streets of Albany.

A year ago, there were more than 40 vacancies at APD. Those vacancies are now down to just 10.  Chief Younger hopes to fill those in the near future.    

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