At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Warner Robins Mayor Randy Toms swore-in the International City's two newest officers.
Ryan Turner and James “Cody” Nelson were officially sworn-in and then had a chance to speak to the crowd.
Afterwards, Turner said he knows what he's most excited about.
“Just working with the citizens of Warner Robins, getting out there and helping others,” he said.
Turner was enlisted in the Air National Guard before becoming a police officer.
Both men also know they're working against national criticism of police work.
“Just want to get out there and be one of those officers that helps change the public's perception and show that we are just normal human beings trying to help,” Turner said.
“I know what kind of people law enforcement officers are and I want just to prove to them that they are better than what the media portrays they are,” Cody Nelson said.
Nelson’s father is currently working for Warner Robins police. Nelson said he’s always wanted to get into police work like his dad. Nelson had already been working for the WRPD for five years in a non-sworn-in position.
The two newly sworn-in Central Georgia natives join a police force fighting rising crime numbers.
For the second year in a row, violent crime in Warner Robins increased in 2016.
Mayor Randy Toms said homegrown officers make a difference.
“For someone that grew up here and has always been a part of this local community, to be willing then to put themselves back in service to this community that basically raised them, kind of like I did and other people like me, that's a special thing to see that happen,” Toms said after the meeting.
He said they have more of a stake in the community. And, he said the more officers the better.
“Certainly, with crime, and not just here but everywhere, being out of control, the more officers we put on the road the better we're able to control that crime,” Toms said.
The two men will complete field training before hitting the road on their own. Warner Robins already has more recruits ready for the next police academy session.
The new hires will maintain the department's current full staffing of 115 sworn-in officers.