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Joplin Police Department Welcomes New Officers - KOAM TV 7

Joplin Police Department Welcomes New Officers

Updated:

The Joplin Police Department is getting closer to becoming fully staffed.
A class of 13 new officers was sworn-in last week.
All of them, obviously, are hoping to make a difference.
It's been four years since the Joplin Police Department has seen a class with this many new officers, and that has their instructors excited.
Henderson: "I've been at Joplin for 15 years and it's nice to see this many people wanting to come and be police officers, and help us get back up to full staff mark."
Laken Rawlins is just one of the new grads -- she entered her law enforcement career after interning with the department.
Now that  she's on the job, she's already got her mind set on a mission.
Rawlins: "It's one of my top priorities to make sure i bring in a positive outlook and try to make sure everyone knows that we are here to make sure we keep the community safe, but we are members of the community as well."
Rawlins says it's a great feeling to cover her home.
Rawlins: "I grew up in this area, I love Joplin, being able to come in and know the people here, my family lives here, I have friends here."
The police department has had some issues retaining officers but they're hoping this new large class will set a trend for the future.
Henderson: "We're hopeful that this does set a good trend where we'll have classes coming in and recruits."
Being a girl hasn't slowed Rawlins down at all -- in fact, she says she's just one of the boys.
Rawlins: "Being a female is definitely a challenge, a challenge that I was happy to accept, and it's a little bit of a changer, but the boys, they kinda bring us in, and we're all just one big group, you're not really singled out as being a female, we're all one."
It's that unity both Rawlins and Henderson hope will spread to others looking to a future in law enforcement.

This most recent graduating class is the largest the department has seen since 2013.

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Chris Warner
Reporter

A Joplin native, Chris first started in broadcasting at age 16 at KSNF-TV in 2004..

Chris joined the KOAM team in 2017 as an Associate Producer. In April, he moved into a full-time reporter position. He spent time from 2008 to 2016 in various retail roles around the region before returning to his passion at KOAM. Chris is excited to continue telling the stories of the four states. Chris and his wife Amber live in Joplin and have three amazing children.

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