San Diego (KGTV)- The San Diego Police Department will soon be adding 63 new officers on our streets. The department held the orientation for its 120th police academy this morning. This academy class is the largest class in over 25 years.
“It’s very exciting,” says recruit Samantha Koegel. “I’m really excited to start this new journey of my life.”
Koegel says her interest in the police force started began as a senior in high school after participating in a ride-along with an SDPD officer. Koegel graduated from Ramona High School. She received her degree from The University of Nevada- Reno, in Criminal Justice.
All recruits went through an extensive screening process before being invited to the academy.
“This is probably within 5 to 7 percent of all the applicants that we’ve gotten,” says Lt. Steve Waldheim.
In the past, the San Diego Police Department has been understaffed. They currently have 1,800 officers but are budgeted for over 2,000. Lt. Waldheim says they the department needs more officers on the streets.
“We need more officers in patrol so that they are out answering radio calls that can lower our response times.”
The average salary for a San Diego Police recruit is $65,000. After they become an officer, that number jumps to around $85,000.
“The salary now with SDPD, at the end of these pay raises that city council approved, we will be on par with the rest of the agencies around San Diego County,” says Lt. Waldheim.
The recruits official first day will be on Monday. The academy graduation is expected towards the end of November.