The Austin Police Department, like many police departments across the country, has been struggling to get recruits. Now APD is working to build their force back up.
High profile incidents in Ferguson to Baltimore have case a negative light on police officers. Austin Police Officer Eric Cortez is hoping that will soon change.
"Everybody is hiring right now. It kind of seems that not everybody wants to be a cop anymore with what's going on in the media and what not," Cortez says.
APD is holing monthly recruitment info sessions. One was held April 23 at the APD South Substation.
Cortez says, "It was great to see an awesome turnout. A lot of willing people out there that want to come work for the city because we're down so many officers."
It’s why James Johnson stopped by.
"I mean, this is my dream job. This is what I want to do," Johnson says.
Johnson says he’s wanted to be a police officer since he was a kid. He says he feels like he has it what it takes.
"I want to go through those neighborhoods where not a lot of people trust the police...go through those neighborhoods and put that trust back with those people. I feel like my personality can really benefit that part," Johnson says.
Officer Cortez says the job isn’t for everyone and it’s one you have to pour your heart into.
"Usually they call us when they're having a really really bad day or something traumatic just happened, or some catastrophic event. So we're getting in there. We're dealing with the drama, with the crisis and we're there to help...and you have to want to do that,” Cortez says.
“It's hard. You deal with some pretty tough things out there. So you need to have the heart and discipline to get in there to take care of it and help the people that need it," Cortez adds.
APD is hiring right now for their next academy which is November 28. They’re hoping to get anywhere from 80 to 100 people signed up.
You can get more information here.