Nashville police are hopeful that they’ll add 62 new officers and diversify the department.
The new crop of trainees that began at the Police Academy on Wednesday are substantially more diverse than the current police force. An analysis last year by The Tennessean found that about 85 percent of officers are white, which is an overrepresentation compared to city demographics.
Out of 62 in the new session, 18 are women and seven are foreign-born — from Afghanistan, Brazil, Haiti, Ivory Coast, Kurdistan, Mexico and Serbia.
“You are a very diverse group,” Mayor Megan Barry said in welcoming the students, “and I appreciate that that diversity is going to make you stronger as a class.”
Among the group, 15 have military experience and 48 hold college degrees.
Police Chief Steve Anderson told the trainees that they were chosen from a competitive pool.
“I want you to know that the seat you’re sitting in, there were two other people qualified to sit there. But we picked you.”
The training runs to June.
“It’s going to be really really hard — maybe the most difficult thing you’ve ever done,” Anderson said. “But you can do it.”