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34 graduate police academy

LAWRENCEVILLE — One of the largest classes in the last 10 years graduated from the Gwinnett County Police Department academy Thursday night, meaning a few dozen new officers will soon be patrolling the county’s streets.

A total of 34 recruits officially became police officers during a ceremony at the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center, marking the completion of more than 20 weeks of training.

The graduates now move on to their 10-week field training program. During that training they will be teamed up with a veteran member of the police force.

“Basically they’ll be divvied up evenly between shifts and precincts (during field training),” spokesman Cpl. Jake Smith said. “After that, it’s kind of based on need for the precincts. For the most part they’ll just be assigned where needed.”

Upon completion of their training, all 34 new officers will be working basic patrol duties and will not be assigned to any special departments or units, Smith said.

As Gwinnett County continues to grow, so does the police force. Smith said his graduating class six years ago was around 20, and Thursday night’s class of 34 just points to the current trend in the county.

“This one’s pretty large, but they’ve been significantly larger for the past year or two,” Smith said.