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Philadelphia Police Dept. sees 72 new officers graduate amid officer shortage, gun violence crisis

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NORTH PHILADELPHIA - With all the violence plaguing the city, Philadelphia police officers will be working extended shifts this week.

It comes as a new recruitment class just graduated.Pride erupted through the crowd in Temple University’s Performing Arts Center Friday morning, as the Philadelphia Police Department officially welcomed 72 new officers, the largest class of academy graduates in recent years.Officer Anthony Fernandez is following in his mother’s footsteps.

She retired as a Sergeant six years ago.MORE HEADLINES: "I’m excited. I’m ready to get out there," he says.The new class comes during what Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw repeatedly called a staffing crisis in recent months, amid a gun violence crisis.

The department is grappling with a shortage of hundreds of officers, with hundreds of others slated to retire over the next few years."These are a drop in the bucket, yes, but what it does is messages to the community, the surrounding communities, that this is still a noble profession," Outlaw says.This weekend, patrol officers will have their shifts extended by four hours and Commissioner Outlaw says it may not be the only time."This is something that we’re doing because we’re in crisis.

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