HARTFORD, Conn. (CBS Connecticut) – Sixteen new Hartford Police Department recruits have begun their work at the city’s training academy.

The recruits will spend six months at the academy learning all facets of policing, before starting field training.

The class– the most diverse in the city’s history– is expected to be the first of three in 2017, as the city seeks to replenish its ranks amid a staffing shortage which is likely to get worse with more officers due to retire in the coming months. There are currently fewer than 400 sworn officers. Mayor Luke Bronin would like to see staffing in the mid-400 range, he said Thursday.

The 16 news positions are federally funded.

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