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Roanoke police try new tactic to recruit officers

Department needs you to answer call to keep Star City safe

ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke City Police Department has seen a lot of turnover. Now, the police force is trying to find more men and women to put on the uniform and protect the city.

Typically, the department holds tryouts the second Tuesday of every month. For the first time this weekend, the department is holding a tryout on a Saturday.

They would like to fill about 15 spots for January's academy class.

"We might be able to attract some people that aren't able to come in on our normal testing days during the week," said Loren Ford, an instructor at the Roanoke Police Academy.

Recruit Kaylin Stenson is sprinting, jumping and crawling her way into the Roanoke City police force. It's a badge she's always wanted to wear.

"I want to be able to make one person's life better and if that's all I ever impact, then that's enough for me because it means the world to them," Stenson said.

After A string of deadly shootings in the city this month, the mayor told 10 news city officials are working with police to curb the violence. One possible solution is hiring more officers.

The tryout this weekend has been in the works for months. Ford said the timing is just a coincidence and the need for more officers is always there.

"Just so we can be more effective and efficient with our law enforcement and keeping people safe in the city," Ford said.

Ford said keeping officers and recruits can be a challenge because the job is tough mentally and physically and has lower pay compared to surrounding communities.

However, officers can move up in the ranks and the Roanoke Valley's low cost of living and quality of life make it a great place to protect and serve.

"I'd like to be that role model for the children," said Tyrone Henderson, another recruit.

"It is really easy to succeed if you're willing to put in the work," Stenson said.

The tryout for the Roanoke Police Academy starts Saturday morning, Aug. 3.

You can sign up online beforehand or just show up from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. at the academy located at 5401-B Barns Avenue NW, Roanoke, Virginia, 24019.

If there's a good turnout this weekend, the department is planning on holding more Saturday tryouts in the future.


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