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62 New Camden County Police Officers Spend First Day Building Relationships With Neighbors

CAMDEN, N.J. (CBS) -- Camden County welcomed more than 60 new police officers on Tuesday, and their first mission on the force is to build a relationship with neighbors.

The police officers say there's nothing more important than establishing trust within the community.

The new officers lined the streets, going door to door. Neighbors say it gives them a better sense of safety.

From the academy to now the streets, Camden County police officers spent their first day giving neighbors a sense of who they are.

Tuesday was relatively easy compared to the journey for these 62 officers.

"The six-month academy, it's hard. You got times where you're just like when are you going to finally get there? Now we're finally here," new Camden County Police Officer David Diaz said.

Residents like José Figueroa say getting to have a positive interaction with the officers means a lot.

"Just to see the human element in it all. It's not just what you see on TV, like the cops start off just like this young, willing to do a job to help protect and serve," Figueroa said.

Rasheeda Boggs-Anderson moved out of Camden because of the crime she experienced a few years back but seeing the officers knocking on doors gives her a sense of hope.

"I was considering coming back to the area so this might do it for me because I love this, just to know that everybody is going to be safe," she said.

Police Chief Gabe Rodriguez says he's proud of this new group.

"They can come talk to us if they have concerns, not to be scared that we're going to bite. We're here to help," Diaz said.

The department adds, another big initiative is diversity.

"Someone just like me. I can relate. This looks like an uncle, a brother. Let me talk to them. Let me not just see this badge," Figueroa said.

Chief Rodriguez says another class of 24 new officers is finishing up training and about to graduate.

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