FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — The Fayetteville Police Department is looking for 58 new officers by the summer.
New recruits were training Thursday to get a taste of what life on the force could be like.
"I feel like it is the job for me. I'm part of the military and I'm a combat veteran, so this would be right up my alley," police applicant Derrick Ventus said.
"I expected to be really tired after the course, [and] they came to prove me right," applicant Kevin Smith said.
With annexation on the horizon, officers said it is more important than ever to hire more officers.
"This is the biggest increase at one time period of new officers that we have had since I have been involved in the hiring process," said Lt. Josh Phillips, of the Fayetteville Police Department.
Phillips said he is planning at least four police academies this year. The department is also advertising. A billboard is inviting people to "Join the Force" no matter what their experience.
"It's a really exciting job and I've always looked up to officers from my childhood. [It's] something I'd like to do," Smith said.
The need for officers is not unique to Fayetteville as areas across the state are having trouble with recruitment. For example, Raleigh is looking for 15 officers and Durham is looking for 23 officers.
Officials said when the economy goes up, the number of applicants tends to go down.