Six new police officers will soon be patrolling the city streets as members of the Jasper Police Department. In a brief ceremony held Wednesday at the Jasper Civic Center, Municipal Judge Jim …
JASPER - Six new police officers will soon be patrolling the city streets as members of the Jasper Police Department.
In a brief ceremony held Wednesday at the Jasper Civic Center, Municipal Judge Jim Brakefield swore in the new officers — Jordan Madison, Justin Waid, Matt Hensley, Haley Wolfe, Stacy Welborn and Hannah West.
Brakefield told the new officers the position they have taken on “is a thankless job, but it is a very necessary job. It’s a service job, and you’re here to serve,” he said.
Mayor David O’Mary said the addition of the new officers is important to the department because several officers have left recently to pursue other positions.
“Are we at full strength? Not yet,” O’Mary said following the ceremony. “But we were very, very fortunate that we had a really good roster of candidates and that’s helped move in that direction. We’ll continue to look at getting to full strength as soon as possible, and there’s no reason we can’t do that.”
Jasper Police Chief J.C. Poe said the officers will begin patrolling the streets as soon as possible. “It takes a while,” he said. “We have to wait until spots open up at the academy.”
While waiting for spots to open for the officers at the academy, there’s no shortage of work to be done. The first step is to have the new officers work alongside veteran officers until they can attend the Alabama Police Academy. “We utilize that time for training as much as we can up to that point, as far as being on the street,” Poe said. “We put them working with a veteran officer or supervisor who can give them the training to help them learn about law enforcement, and how the Jasper Police Department works.”
Once the officers complete the 13-week academy, Poe said, they go through additional training with a field training officer for anywhere from two to three months. “That depends on how they progress,” Poe said.
During that time, the new officers are tested on what they’ve learned that week. “We started that about two years ago,” Poe said, “and it’s been really helpful.”
Poe said the current group of new officers “is the best group we’ve had in a long time.”
One more new officer is expected to join the department soon, Poe said. That will give the department 51 full-time officers.