Amarillo, TX - Twelve new officers joined the Amarillo Police Department on Wednesday and they say they plan on doing more than protecting and serving.
With the recent negative attention surrounding officers around the country, some new recruits want to clear the air.
Twelve men. And one common goal.
Today the Amarillo Police Department's 87th Academy Class was able to put on their badge. But it was no easy feat...both for recruits and recruiters.
With officers being thrown into the negative spotlight recently, Sergeant Mike Martinez says getting recruits to graduate is not the hard part.
"With the way things have taken place in recent times, getting applicants is harder and harder to do. But it's not just us, it's nation-wide," says Martinez."
Having spent over 1,000 hours training and with more to go, new officers tell us they know they will be well-prepared to patrol in this ever evolving society.
"You just have to know now that you've got to be professional at all times," says Kato Robinson. "There's a camera everywhere you turn, so just be professional and be righteous. If you're being righteous, you'll be fine."
"Everything they teach you is your justified way of doing it," says Keith Quirk. "And if you deviate from that, then that could be where you fall into a little bit of scrutiny."
Martinez says the key is staying up-to-date with events and strategies to better the community.
"The training's always evolving. Tactics evolve, the way you address different situations. It's just a constantly learning and changing environment. As something changes in the public, we have to transition and change as a department."
Despite the task of wanting to prove themselves, graduates Robinson and Quirk say for today they will enjoy their latest accomplishment.
"I've been wanting to be a cop my whole life and today it's finally happening, so it's been a blessing," says Robinson.
Martinez says the officers will be put right to work. One graduate's first shift will be on Friday night.
The APD is currently conducting background checks for candidates for the 88th academy set to begin Dec. 3, 2015. Watch the APD web site, police.amarillo.gov, for the date to submit applications for the 89th Academy, slated for 2016.