INDIANAPOLIS - Sixty Indianapolis Metro Police Department recruits were sworn in by Mayor Greg Ballard Monday with plans to add 20 more by the end of the year.
The new recruits were said to be a step in the right direction to strengthening the city's public safety ranks. The group also represented IMPD's largest and most racially diverse class of recruits. Sixty percent of its members are white, 28 percent are black and 12 percent are Hispanic.
Although law enforcement is considered one of the most dangerous careers, police recruit Babacar Diouf said he wants to make Indy streets safer.
"I've always wanted to be a police officer. I've always felt like a protector. I want to help people. I think this is the perfect career for me," Diouf said.
Diouf comes from the Department of Correction Re-Entry program. During his six years there, he tried to help people get out of prison. His new job will be to send offenders back.
"The prison system is a controlled environment. Outside, it's not the same. I do believe the IMPD Academy will provide its recruits to be trained and ready," he said.
The new recruits come at a time when staffing levels at IMPD have dropped to their lowest levels since 2007. The city will fund 50 recruits from existing public safety revenues. The other 30 positions have no funding beyond the end of the year, RTV6's Jack Rinehart reported.
Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said the agency is focused on building up its staff.
"Simultaneous to hiring officers, we're hiring 40 civilian employees this year. Any officers in those positions will be moved back to the streets," Riggs said.
The police department averages 42 retirements per year. With current staffing levels at more than 230 officers, officials said the new recruits will have a neutral impact on the roster.
Duke proposes $1.9 billion Indiana grid upgrade
Duke Energy is proposing a nearly $2 billion electric grid upgrade that Indiana's largest power company says would help it reduce power outages.
Bosma removes Turner from House leadership
House Speaker Brian Bosma has removed Rep. Eric Turner from his leadership team amid concerns over Turner's lobbying against a…
Records: Day care in molest case missed training
A day care under scrutiny for an alleged child molestation involving a staff member was cited by the Indiana Family and Social Services…
Police: Woman stole from youth baseball league
The former treasurer of an Indiana town's youth baseball league is facing charges for allegedly embezzling funds.
No foul play suspected in IU sorority death
Police say they don't suspect foul play after an IU student was found dead at a campus sorority house Thursday night.
Search continues for baby; 911 call released
Police said a baby boy was in extreme danger in a statewide Amber Alert case that began Wednesday.