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Maine Criminal Justice Academy Graduates Largest Class Ever

Friday, the Maine Criminal Justice Academy in Vassalboro graduated the largest class in its 39- \year history, with 67 new officers.

Academy director, Rick Desjardins says this year also saw a record number of women graduates. 16 women completed the program, one of whom finished at the top of the class.

"Which is really a difficult achievement, which is combining all of the driving, shooting, fighting - and then combine that with the academics. This individual, Quincy Stewart, from Brewer Police Department, won that academic and combined score to become our class valedictorian," Desjardins says.

He says this year was also notable because 71 signed up and 67 finished.

"Typically from us we lose about ten percent of the population when we start a class so that's actually a very low attrition rate," Desjardins says.

Despite the large graduating class, police departments across the board are still struggling with recruitment. Desjardins cites low pay in a challenging job as one of the biggest barriers.