CINCINNATI - Whether they knew it or not, people in and around Great American Ball Park Saturday got their first look at the city's newest men and women in blue.
After being sworn in Thursday, the Cincinnati Police Department's 19 new officers taking to the streets for the first time. Their first assignment was to patrol the stadium before, during and after the Reds-Brewers game.
What makes the graduating class unique is they’re all lateral entry officers, or officers who were previously employed at other law enforcement agencies across the state. It’s the department’s first such class in nearly 10 years.
It's one way Mayor John Cranley, City Council and local police have been working to reduce crime in the city. And so far, their efforts are paying off.
Violent crimes have decreased in the city by 19 percent in 2014, according to data from the city. That includes a 22 percent reduction in aggravated assaults, a 20 percent reduction in robberies and a 6 percent reduction in rapes.
But the city hopes the experience each of the officers brings to the table will help improve those numbers even more.
WCPO spoke with two of lateral entry hires, each of whom said they're honored to work in Cincinnati and are ready to start policing.
"The 19 that are here are good, they are very good, and I’m happy to be a part of (the police department),” said Andrea Harmon, who previously worked for the VA hospital's police force. “There's a lot of experience with different departments (and) I think that experience is going to have an impact, absolutely."
While the experience is going to add to the force, Harmon and Brian Delk said they believe the Cincinnati Police Department was already headed in the right direction even before they were hired.
"We're a piece of the pie. We're all going to put a team effort in everything we do,” said Delk, who used to work as an officer in the Village of Cleves.
That “pie” is getting even bigger in September, with the hiring of 60 additional officers who Delk hopes to be a “great asset to the city.”
For now, each of the new hires plans to continue with their training.
The second phase of their on-boarding process begins Sunday when they report for work on patrol in Cincinnati's five districts. From there they'll be paired with field training officers and receive eight more weeks of instruction.