PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP/WPRI) — The Providence Police Department welcomed some much-needed new officers as the largest class in the capital city’s history was sworn in.
Fifty-three new officers graduated Friday from the 67th Providence Police Department Training Academy and were sworn in as members of the department. After the ceremony, the department will have 444 officers.
It’s the largest and most diverse class in department history.
“Providence is a diverse city with people from all around the world. When you have a police dept that reflects that diversity, you’re better able to interact with the community, better able to gain more trust with the community,” said Mayor Angel Taveras. “You want to talk about community policing, you have to have a police force that reflects the community.”
The police department says the class includes 46 men and seven women. The graduates speak 14 different languages and the department says 22 are members of minority groups.
Nearly 40 percent of the population in Providence is Hispanic, compared with 11 percent of the police force. The department says nine of the new recruits are Hispanic.
Late last month, 30 officers from Providence were honored at a ceremony inside the Providence Career and Technical Academy High School Auditorium for various work in the community.