MILWAUKEE - A ceremony for the Milwaukee Police Department's most recent graduating recruit class was held Thursday, Feb. 17.
Bagpipers played "America the Beautiful" as MPD's 26 newest officers were recognized.
"It’s really something I’ve wanted to do for – since forever," new Officer DeAngelo Reel said. "I wanted to just help out my community."
As the crowd at Thursday's graduation ceremony cheered for Milwaukee's newest police officers, Reel said his future is rooted in his past. Reel starts patrol on Sunday and said he hopes to have a long and safe career as an officer.
"I grew up here, it’s only right that I give back to the community," said Reel.
Across Wisconsin and in other states, recruiting new police officers has been hard. Earlier this month, the Wauwatosa Police Department announced a $7,500 incentive for new hires – saying recruitment and retention have been a challenge.
Republicans in the Wisconsin Legislature introduced and backed bills to fill and keep officers on the job.
"We’re actively recruiting, and we have a robust recruitment campaign," said Leon Todd, executive director of Milwaukee's Fire and Police Commisssion. "We’re going to be focused on recruiting individuals that are residents of the city of Milwaukee and doing everything we can to ensure that we have a diverse pool of applicants."
Todd would not say if MPD is struggling to hire officers. However, he said a new recruitment period will run from Feb. 18 through March 18 in an effort to "expand the pool of applicants that we have to use for the future."
Interested candidates must be at least 20 years old at time of application and 21 years old once appointed. For more information on the position and process, visit the FPC's website Interested applicants can apply online.