POSTED: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 4:15pm
UPDATED: Monday, July 8, 2013 - 4:44pm
BATON ROUGE, La. (NBC33) — Twenty-seven new police officers will soon be hitting the streets of the Capital City, after successfully graduating from the Baton Rouge Police Department’s training program.
"I am most excited about getting out there and getting on the street and talking to people and helping people and answering calls and responding and making a difference," said Natasha Strickland, a new officer and training class president.
"They're ready to go. I spoke with them Friday, kind of joked around, they're all a little bit nervous but they're anxious and they're ready to go," remarked interim police chief Carl Dabadie.
Those living in the city limits have said they’ll take as many new police officers as they can get. Dario Galban knows just how important those new officers can be, he has been held up at gun point twice at his store.
"I was behind the counter when someone came in, face covered and put the gun straight to me," said Galban.
Thanks to Baton Rouge Police officers though, the man responsible is now behind bars.
"They came right away. I got the panic button, I pushed the panic button, and they just showed up right away,” said Galban.
When asked just how important the police department is here in the city, he simply replied, “Very.”
Though it's named one of the most dangerous cities in the nation, new officers say they're not shying away from the challenge.
"I was born and raised in Baton Rouge, and if I am just going to take the easy way and go to a city that doesn't really need the help then I wouldn't be here. I want to be here, I want to make a difference and I want to clean up the streets and this is my home and community, so I wouldn't want to go anywhere else," explained Strickland.
The addition of the new recruits brings the total number of officers up to 668. The department is allocated to hire on 698 officers at any time. This is one of the highest number of officers the department has had in several years.