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Corpus Christi area sees low first responder recruitment numbers

The CCFD said they were able to become fully staffed by hiring 175 cadets since 2019. The department will be looking to hire from a new pool of candidates in 2023.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — With law enforcement agencies across the state continuing to struggle with manpower issues, cadets from Del Mar College are being scouted to fill the vacancies.

Director of Del Mar College's Regional Police Academy John Hornsby said agencies from all across the state, including the Dallas Police Department come to recruit his students. 

While law enforcement agencies are still experiencing shortages, his cadet classes have actually grown over the past few years. 

"I didn't crunch all of the numbers but our academies, three, four or five years ago were 15-20. Now we're 25-30 on each one of our academies starting out," he said. 

Alexander Vallejo completed his tour of duty with the National Guard. He was part of Texas Gov. Greg Abbotts border security initiative Operation Lone Star. On Friday, Vallejo will graduate from the police academy. That after having to start his classes all over because he was called to the border. He's hoping to change the perception some people have about police officers.

"Once we graduate this academy we can make that change," he said. "Yes there are bad officers, but maybe we could start fixing that issue and have a good officers show a lot more than all of the bad media stuff that's been going around in this country."

After struggling to fill their ranks, the Corpus Christi Fire Department has finally hit that mark. However, CCFD Assistant Chief Doug Matthijetz told 3NEWS that despite being fully staffed, their department had the least number of applicants in years to show up to take the firefighter certification test.

"We only had about 390 that took the test, where typically we will have you know 500 or so show up and take the test," he said. "So, our numbers were down. So, I think some of that was just like everybody around the nation is having a hard time hiring people."

Valente Acosta is one of those cadets. The 25 year old studies night and day to learn everything he can about becoming a firefighter and paramedic.

"It's all very fun and rewarding. I love every minute of it. The good, the bad and the ugly," she said.

CCFD officials said they were able to become fully staffed by hiring 175 cadets since 2019. The department will be looking to hire from a new pool of candidates in January of 2023.

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