Washington County Police Academy holds inaugural graduation ceremony

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HAGERSTOWN, Md. (WDVM)– Men from all walks of life took the oath of office Tuesday night to become police officers. The eleven cadets will join different departments throughout Western Maryland.

“Family is really proud and can’t wait to get on the streets,” said Abel Romero, who was sworn in to the Hagerstown Police Department.

The cadets graduated after they worked hard for six months in the police academy. For some, becoming a police officer was a calling.

“There was a shooting, like near my house and since that day I wanted to become a police officer to protect my kids, the other people’s kids and prevent drugs,” said Ehab Mazloum, who was sworn in to the Hagerstown Police Department.

For Mazloum, he also made history. He is the first Muslim police officer to join the Hagerstown Police Department.

“I think that is beneficial to because, there’s a lot of Muslims, especially in like Hagerstown city. I think I would be able to connect with them,” said Mazloum.

The Hagerstown Police Department also swore in its first Hispanic officer. Romero says he’s excited to be a part of the department.

“Appreciate the opportunity that HCC gave me to pursue this career,” said Romero.

For Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kifer, he’s happy to have more officers. Tuesday afternoon, he briefed the Hagerstown Council of the current police staffing shortage. He says by the end of October they’ll have 100 officers on staff, but only 88 will be street ready as some have to go through more training. They’re authorized to have 112 officers. Kifer’s concerned about the officers working extra shifts to account for the shortage.

“To do that for a very, very long time burns out your employees, and that’s the concern. That when your tired when things are going on, you make mistakes, you don’t see something, they could get hurt,” said Kifer.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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