Tuscaloosa Police04

Reported by WVUA 23 Reporter Haley Whigham
Written by WVUA 23 Digital Reporter David Williams III

Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson is looking forward to increasing the Tuscaloosa Police Department with new officers.

Last Thursday, April 11, 11 officers graduated from the police academy and they all started field training yesterday, April 15. In training, the graduates of the academy will learn how to apply what they’ve learned to real-life situations before they are qualified to patrol and serve on their own. If they succeed, they will be ready to protect and serve within the next 16-18 weeks.

“It is very important for public safety to have as many police officers out on the streets as we can,” Anderson said. “So this 11 officers that are coming into our department today, they are going to be a huge help.”

Over the last few years, the department has been behind and needed to hire between 20-25 officers each year. This is needed to keep up with the attrition rate through retirements and resignations.

Anderson said he’s been a police officer for almost 25 years. From his perspective, the job has changed over time and the community’s expectations for their police force has changed as well.

“And so it has required us to take a different look at things and the way we did them,” Anderson said. “It used to be that the hard skills were the one that people concentrated on. The officers being able to shoot, drive and do things of that nature. Now we focus more on the soft skills. The ability to be able to communicate with people is hugely important.”

The city of Tuscaloosa provides funding for 285 officers. Anderson said that after his new recruits hit the streets in August he will still be four officers short.

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