CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston Police Department (CPD) is expanding its service to the community. The department welcomed in 18 new officers from Police Corps Class 10 during a swearing-in ceremony Friday morning.

While some law enforcement agencies across the country saw a decline in recruitment over the past few years – mostly sparked by national controversy when it comes to policing – a recruiter for CPD said she did not see a decline in those applying to become an officer.

Terry Cherry, recruiter for the Charleston Police Department, said the agency continued to hire through the coronavirus pandemic and through both local and national protests.

“We’ve had a strategy and we’ve continued to hit the ground running,” said Cherry. “So, we’ve been very successful when it comes to recruiting new officers.”

But one of the department’s new recruits, Brandon Gonzalez, said part of the reason why he wanted to join the police force was after noticing what he felt was a decline in young people joining law enforcement.

He hopes to change that dynamic and encourage others around his age to serve their communities. “It’s always been a dream of mine,” he said. “I just like to help people.”

Cherry echoed the sentiment from Gonzalez. She believes the new officers add to improving the community when it comes to public safety and public service.

“It adds to our ranks and adds opportunity for officers to move to different spaces within the organization,” she said. “Which will help make the department better and provide exceptional public service to the community and public safety.”

Gonzalez said the department’s application and testing process is what drew him to the Charleston agency, noting what he called a more streamlined process compared to other agencies he applied to.

“I feel great. Really proud of the profession I’m in currently,” he said of joining the department. “I’m just glad they had me, glad the community is putting their trust in me.”

Cherry said the Charleston Police Department is currently hiring for its Class of 2023 in January. Those interested in applying can visit www.joincpd.com for more information.