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Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
Email: aharris@wwltv.com | Twitter: @antwanharris

NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans police have had a busy weekend with nearly two dozen people shot and four people killed.

The department started a recruitment class Tuesday in hopes of bringing new officers to the force and reducing low officer numbers.

Thirty one hopeful recruits stand in line for day one of officer training. Most are from the metro area, and they battle grueling conditions and tough instructors all in the name of bearing the badge.

Monday Mayor Mitch Landrieu and police chief Ronal Serpas visited the recruits to offer words of encouragement.

This comes on the heels of a violent Memorial Day weekend where police are looking into more than 20 people being shot and nearly half a dozen killed.

The most recent incident happened early Tuesday morning when a tourist was robbed and shot in the hand by a woman.

The NOPD has suffered from a lack of manpower, and the chief said this group of 31 is the beginning of more to come.

'We are focused on the future,' Serpas said. 'Hiring is the most important step we take in any police department and they represent the beginning of a very aggressive recruitment campaign.'

The holiday weekend got off to a bad start when a 25-year-old woman was killed after being shot in an apartment in New Orleans East.

Since then, there have been 22 more injuries and four more are dead.

The mayor said major crimes are down, but that's a small victory to a much larger problem.

'It is not something that will happen overnight,' Mayor Landrieu said. 'You can't let up. I'm committed to having a city of peace, and we have to put resources in place to do that.'

And now the city hopes 31 new faces will make the city safer and breathe new life into the department.

Once recruit class 170 becomes sworn in officers the chief is hoping to start another class of 30. He said he has enough funding for 150 new officers this year.

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