Police academy holds special classes to accommodate influx of SC - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Police academy holds special classes to accommodate influx of SCMPD recruits

(Source: WTOC) (Source: WTOC)

The Savannah-Chatham Metropolitan Police Department is now technically fully staffed, but that includes a number of recruits who are still undergoing some level of training.

In fact, the academy that trains these officers has been in overdrive to keep up with the demand.

Most of Metro's recruits go through training at the Georgia Public Safety Training Center in Garden City. The state-run agency trains law enforcement officers from across Georgia, but lately, the majority who come to the Garden City location are on their way to Metro.

The three-month-long process to train an officer encompasses 440 hours of classroom instruction, defensive tactics and firearm training.

Typically, the Georgia Public Safety Training Center holds quarterly classes to train officers from all around southeast Georgia, but with Metro Police Chief Jack Lumpkin's push to get hundreds more officers on the street, they've had to adjust.

"They came to us and asked us if they could have a supplemental academy, and we pulled resources from around the state, and we were able to make it happen. We want to meet their needs, and so far we have,” said Maj. Hal Braswell of GPTSC.

In the past year, the academy has held two extra classes just for Metro officers. Between that and their regularly scheduled classes, they've trained 98 new recruits.

"We could not be where we are today without them,” Police Chief Jack Lumpkin said.

The chief said if they had to wait on those regularly scheduled classes, they couldn't process and deploy these new recruits as quickly.

"We probably could have had 70 or 80 at the most, without them. They're certainly responsible for about 40 to 50 additional people that will be on the street in September,” Lumpkin said.

Despite taking on the influx of Metro recruits, the head of the training center said it won't affect their ability to continue training officers from other agencies across the area.

"Even though they may be going through a big push, we're always going to have room for our customers,” Braswell said.

Although the hundred-something new recruits has filled out the force for now, the work doesn't stop there. Chief Lumpkin is looking to recruit another hundred new officers next year, meaning Maj. Braswell will likely be organizing a couple more special classes for Metro recruits in 2017.

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