OAKLAND (KCBS) — The Oakland Police Department has taken another step in beefing up its understaffed force with the graduation of three-dozen officers from the police academy on Friday.
The additional manpower comes days after the department received a $4.5 million grant from the U.S. Justice Department to hire 10 more officers.
Oakland has been one of the country’s most understaffed police departments. According to an FBI report, the city had one officer for every 638 residents last year.
Six of the graduating officers are women, including Jeanine Meeks, whose father is a retired lieutenant with the Oakland Police Department.
“I was always at the department with my dad, going on ride alongs. I was always in his face, fascinated by his uniform and everything; especially his police car. I loved it when I was little,” she said.
During the graduation ceremony, her father, James Meeks, pinned her badge on.
“I’m very proud of my daughter that she would want to do something that I did for over 30 years. Hopefully she’ll have a great career like I did,” he said.
This group of graduates brings the total number of police officers to 647. Graduates begin 16 weeks of field training next weekend.
A new police academy of about 60 recruits is expected to begin on September 30th.
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