SAN JOSE (KCBS) – Police staffing is about to get a much needed boost in San Jose, as the Police Department’s academy held its first graduation ceremony since 2009.

Badges were pinned on 43 new officers during Friday’s ceremony.

The officers are graduating from the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium, or The Academy for short, located at Evergreen Valley College on Yerba Buena Road in southeastern San Jose.

“It’s great to have them,” said SJPD spokesman, Officer Albert Morales. “They’re welcomed. They’re eager to get started. It’s a great time for the city.”

Police staffing in San Jose had for a time been down by more than 300. Recently, dozens of officers either retired or took positions with neighboring police forces following the passage of a controversial pension reform measure impacting the San Jose Police Department last year.

“It’s definitely going to allow us better responses to the community. Having more bodies means getting to calls a lot quicker, answering calls for service, things like that that we’ve been lacking in the past,” Morales enthused about the new officers.

“This is the first of several academies that we’ve got lined up,” added Mayor Chuck Reed. “We have 1,600 applicants for the academy that starts in September, with 400 already in backgrounding. So there’s a lot of enthusiasm about working for the City of San Jose and we’re looking forward to tapping into that.”

“There’s a great demand for jobs in our police and fire departments, people all over the state made applications to come work here,” Reed said. “We’re excited about that. We’ve got really excellent quality people who are going through our academies.”

Those graduating from the school’s Basic Academy course have passed a rigorous 880-hour plan of study that takes six months to complete, said Gregg Giusiana, the academy’s director.

“It’s quite an accomplishment to graduate from a police academy,” Giusiana said. “You have to pass every test. If you don’t pass a test, you get to take it again and if you don’t pass again, you are out.”

The academy’s course fulfills the minimum training requirements of the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training, or POST, needed to become a member of a public police agency in the state, Giusiana said.

Among the things recruits must pass to graduate are a physical agility test that includes a 500-yard sprint, a writing and reading test called the Entry-Level Law Enforcement Test Battery, a personal interview and a background investigation.

Only two people who had been admitted to the academy this session left during the six-month training period, Guisiana said.

“That’s remarkable,” Guisiana said. “San Jose did a great job recruiting.”

During the course of study, the students took classes in topics such as criminal law, patrol procedures, cultural diversity, investigative procedures, firearms, leadership, traffic enforcement, handling emotional situations and first aid/CPR, according to the academy’s website.

(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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