New police officers to hit the streets in Philly as city struggles to fill vacancies

The officers join Philly’s police department at a time when the Parker administration is rolling out safer streets initiatives.

New Philly Police officers take the oath of office as they stand on a stage.

Newest Philadelphia Police officers take the oath of office on March 22, 2024. (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

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The newest class of recruits graduated from the Philadelphia Police Academy Friday morning on the campus of Temple University. The department’s nearly 50 newest members come at a time when every officer is precious in the department.

Police Commissioner Kevin Bethel told the new officers to be proud of the job they do.

“Remember the uniform you wear is a symbol of public trust. Wear it with pride and a profound sense of duty,” he said. “Be the officers who inspire confidence, who approach every challenge with resolve and every individual with dignity and compassion.”

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This is Bethel’s first class of recruits since he was made commissioner in January.  Some of the new officers will be part of a community policing effort that is expected to be revealed to the public soon.

This is also the first graduating class for Mayor Cherelle Parker.

“I want you to know that I’m grateful for your sacrifice and the sacrifice of your families and your loved ones,” she said. “We are here. We won’t turn our backs on you, and my hope is that you will never turn your back on the people of the city of Philadelphia who need you so much.”

Parker congratulated the group and said she was proud that they are joining city service. She said she wants the new officers to understand they have her support.

“You’re on the front line. My hope is as guardians and not warriors that people would like to describe you as. Rest assured, it’s a tough job. Very, very tough job. One of the toughest you could have in the city of Philadelphia, but I am so super proud of the fact that you have answered the call to serve.”

After the ceremony, Managing Director Adam Thiel admitted the city is still experiencing a staffing shortage and the newly minted officers are necessary to keep up with retirements and other staffing issues.

He added the city is always looking for new recruits to enter the academy.

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“We know that this is not the only law enforcement agency across the country that is having challenges with recruiting and hiring,” Thiel said. “We do hope that folks will consider careers as police officers, firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and all the other great jobs that we have open and available in the city.”

A list of job openings in city government is available online.

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