MILWAUKEE — For the first time in more than a year, the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) graduated 26 recruits.
Among the graduates was Officer Adrianna LaMack, who worked in corrections for 15 years before deciding to take on the role of police officer.
"I really wanted a better opportunity to engage with the community to meet victims on the front end to help make them whole in that way," Officer LaMack said.
The new officer also wanted to set an example for her three young kids.
"I wanted to show them that it doesn't matter how old, where you are in your life, if you find something that you're passionate about it's okay to go for it and you can do it," she said.
She and her fellow recruits are entering the force at a time when MPD and police departments across the state are struggling with recruitment and retention.
Chief of Police Jeffrey Norman addressed that issue in his speech to the graduates.
"This diverse body of graduates, men and women of the Milwaukee Police Department, your presence helps assist in attrition that we're losing when it comes to retirement. You are needed," the chief said
Statewide, there has also been a decrease in law enforcement officers, according to Wisconsin Department of Justice data. In 2020, there were 13,371 Wisconsin law enforcement officers. In 2022, there are 13,443.
LaMack hopes more people will decide to take the first step to serve their community.
"It's great to be passionate about your community and if it's not you, then who? If you're not willing to make that change, if you're not willing to be that difference, then who is? It's a big leap, but it's a worthwhile and very fulfilling leap to take," LaMack said.