New police recruits training to serve in Biloxi

New police recruits training to serve in Biloxi

BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - On the same day President Obama honored the five fallen police officers in Dallas, eight members of Biloxi Police's newest class of recruits continued their training. Despite the tragedies of the last week these trainees are committed to making a career in law enforcement because they want to help others.

"We're going to be there and we're going to be there to help them no matter who they are with blinders on," said police trainee Ashleigh Pack.

Pack is a veteran police officer and she's now training to work in Biloxi after seeing a social media post asking for police applicants. It's part of an increased effort by Chief John Miller to recruit new officers, that effort has been more difficult in recent years.

"Let's face it, in society cops don't appear to be the heroes that they once were. In the last few years, you don't see young people migrating towards police work," said Miller.

At 21, Samuel Gaffney is an exception. He serves part time in the National Guard and the chance of facing dangerous, even deadly situations didn't stop Gaffney from signing up.

"I understand that something may happen and I may have to give my life. But I think in the service of making Biloxi a better place and the community a better place, I have no qualms or concerns about it," said Gaffney.

Seven of the eight officers in training in this class are minorities, filling an initiative set out to bring diversity to Biloxi's Police Department.

"Given my ethnic background, I think that maybe I can interact with people on a different level than maybe someone else from a different background or culture can," said Gaffney.

Chief Miller offered his advice for the recruits.

"There could be some bad days that could make you decide or test whether or not you want to stay in police work, but what I would say is just give it a little while and don't make any rash decisions," said Miller.

While what happened in Dallas did make the training officers stop and think, it didn't make them back down from their drive to protect and serve.

"We chose this, we knew what the risks were and what came along with this job. And for us, the risk of dealing with something like that or getting to help people on a daily basis outweighs, so we continue to do this," said Pack.

These recruits are in their first week of training. It could take up to as much as six months of in house training and work at the police academy before the group begins patrol on the streets.

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