The Sherman Police Department swore in six new recruits Friday morning. Sgt. D.M. Hampton said the recruit officers will now enter a two-week orientation that focuses on policy and procedure. After the two-week orientation, they will participate in a 17-week, field-training program.

The program consists of three phases of five weeks and a final two-week ghost phase. The ghost phase involves a two-week period in which the recruit officer must pretend the field officer trainer is not present and act as if they were alone.

The group is one of the largest training groups the department has had. Sherman Chief of Police Zachary Flores explained the group has the unique benefit of forming camaraderie during their time at the police academy.

“It’s definitely atypical,” Flores said. “Whenever I came into the police department we had several openings. We’ve given multiple tests since. Then we have to take them and get them into one of two police academies. Collin County Law Enforcement Academy was able to take them all at once.”

Recruit Officer James Eddie Shadden attended Grayson College for a time and studied criminal justice. Shadden is from Howe and said he has wanted to be a police officer for a long time.

Sherman High School graduate Recruit Officer Christopher Stephens said he too has always wanted to be in law enforcement.

“I’ve just been waiting until I was old enough,” Stephens said. “Lots of police officers from Sherman would always talk to me about the profession. It was really something I wanted to do.”

Recruit Officer Orry Richardson served for eight years in the Marines. After the Marines he attended a few years at Richland Community College. Also a former Marine, Recruit Officer Paul Yarwood served for four years before graduating Grayson College in the Criminal Justice Program.

After working at Collin County Jail for seven years, Bonham native Recruit Officer Ryan Shepard decided to join the force.

Recruit Officer Kory Deaton spent 17 years as a regional mobile director for AT&T. Deaton said the decision to apply came after AT&T asked him and his family to relocate.

“My family is here,” Deaton said. “My wife teaches in Sherman, and my kids go to Pottsboro. We weren’t ready to move. Me and my wife both graduated from Pottsboro.”

Flores went on to explain one of the reasons for such a large class of recruits is because of several openings due to retirements and departures. A group of four officers graduated in July and the department is hoping to hire three more recruits next month.

“We have increased our numbers slightly,” Flores said. “But for the most part, it’s just filling roles we already had. We are able to operate however in order to give officers time off and sick time we need to have a little bit more and this is really going to assist with that.”