The Oklahoma City Police Department is making strides when it comes to diversifying officers on the streets. The department kicked off the 140th police academy on Friday with the largest group of female recruits ever.
Meet the faces of the city's 140th police academy. This marks a first for many of the recruits, including making department history. Officials said 22 women suited up to become officers.
“This is also the largest class of female recruits we’ve ever had,” said Lt. Silvio Kimmel, Oklahoma City Police Department.
What is seen in the group is a reflection of the department's efforts to diversify. News 9 first reported in August an initiative that is underway to recruit minorities. At the time, minorities represented approximately 17 percent of the force.
Recruiters have been holding targeted events to increase the minority numbers.
“So we’ll have this event that is specifically to African Americans,” said Sgt. Chris Brown, Oklahoma City Police Department. “We’ll have events coming up that are specific to Latino, we’ll have events that are specific to female.”
Their work is paying off one class at a time.
While the newest academy spends 1,100 hours in training over the next 28 weeks, recruiters said their work is not over.
“We’re always looking to improve,” said Kimmel. “We need to get out there and do more recruiting on demographics that matches the city.”
The city is currently recruiting for the next academy. The current class will graduate next April and then spend another four to six months riding with veteran officers.