DOWNTOWN CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - They sat as still as they could, 54 men and women listening to what would be expected of them over the next six months. 53 police recruits and one firefighter recruit, all with their own reasons for choosing to try and make it on to the force.
"I have been raised here and ever since the tenth or eleventh grade, I said I was going to be an officer," Clevelander Luis Figueroa said. "This is my chance and I will make a difference in this city."
Monday morning, the 129th Cleveland Police Academy class gathered for the first time. The recruits will deal with three critical aspects of training - the emotional, the physical and academic. And there is no way of knowing, until in the middle of it, how these recruits will react when pushed.
Academy Commander Lieutenant Brandon Kutz said, "It depends on the individual and that's why the job is so tough. Everybody has different challenges and all three of those are massive challenges for our career."
The training includes diversity issues, police tactics, and law, and the program has been created to prepare the officers to be responsive to the specific needs of the Cleveland community.
"We have a big task ahead of us, they have a big task ahead of them," Kutz said. "There's definitely a lot of work on their part. Every ounce of effort they put in, my staff will be putting in the same amount of effort."