STOCKTON (CBS13) — Stockton Police began to investigate a new homicide on Wednesday as a new class of police recruits began training and a new officer joined the force.
Stockton Police officers say their recruitment program is robust, but the problem is getting them to stay in Stockton after they’re sworn in as officers.
Manteca native and San Joaquin Delta College student Jesika Villegas says she wanted to work for the department, since it recently hired several officers from her class at the police academy.
“They picked some great people and I want to work beside them,” she said.
The new recruits are coming into a city with a growing homicide number—46 compared to 48 homicides in 2014.
“I want these new officers to know that this is more than a game,” said Stockton Police Chaplain Jim Reed. “These officers see life at its roughest, most raw, most difficult times.”
Reed spoke candidly about the difficulties patrolling Stockton’s streets. While he’s had career highs, such as performing weddings for fellow officers, he says somet things officers will see on the streets can haunt them.
“My first year on duty back in ’97, a little boy was killed by a semi,” he said. “Every time I go by that street, I can still see that little boy dead. I never forget it.”
After completing the academy, graduates will have a monthlong orientation of agency-specific training followed by six months of field training with a veteran officer. Villegas feels she’s well prepared for Stockton and plans to spend her entire career here.
“I would like to. I’d like to see where it can take me. Where I can grow and move up,” she said.