Mar 25, 2024 - News

New Cleveland police academy class larger than previous four combined

Photo illustration of a Cleveland Police cruiser with lines radiating from it.

Photo illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios. Photo: Angelo Merendino/Getty Images

The 155th Cleveland Division of Police Academy began training Monday, and it's a bumper crop.

Why it matters: With 52 recruits, the current class is larger than the previous four classes combined.

Between the lines: Mayor Justin Bibb attributed the class size to his RISE initiative, the investments he announced last year to improve public safety hiring by offering better incentives for cadets, including hourly pay bumps, sign-on bonuses and fast-tracked promotions.

By the numbers: Bibb also raised the maximum age for new recruits, from 40 to 55.

  • 10 of the 52 current recruits are in that age range.

What they're saying: "Initiatives only matter to the extent they generate tangible successes," Bibb said in a statement.

  • "Clevelanders deserve results, and this large academy class is a direct product of my administration's cumulative efforts over the last several months."

The big picture: Police departments across the country are experiencing officer shortages and hiring challenges due to the tightening labor market and community frustrations with law enforcement.

  • Cleveland's diminished police force has been a political wedge issue for months as city council members plead for enhanced police presence in their neighborhoods.

What's next: The academy lasts 7-8 months, and the current recruits are expected to begin patrolling Cleveland's streets by November.


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