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Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

New Orleans, La. -- Dozens of eager job seekers showed up to Gentilly on Saturday for an NOPD recruitment event.

Some of the applicants know the City's criminal world firsthand and they would like to help make a positive change. 'I was shot several times. These are some of my wounds right here. I have a surgery wound, this is a bullet wound and this is one where it came out,' said job seeker Alvin Green pointing to his arm.

The shooting victim says he was sprayed by gunfire two years ago leaving a high school basketball game at Warren Easton. An innocent bystander whose career path was changed forever within seconds.'It basically destroyed my future career. I wanted to play football. I can't play football anymore because I have two rods in my arm that makes my whole bone connect,' said Green.

The military would also turn him away. However, Green refuses to give up hope. On Saturday he showed up to an NOPD recruitment event where Tevin Blakes also signed up. 'Just the other week, I witnessed a shooting and death at a party. Things like that take a toll on your life and you feel like you need to step up,' said Blakes.

'If making other people feel safe. If making other people feel good. If making other people feel like you've been there for them. Then this is the greatest job in the world,' said NOPD Superintendent Ronal Serpas addressing the crowd inside Langston Hughes Academy Cafeteria.

Dozens were in attendance wanting to learn more from Superintendent Serpas and Mayor Mitch Landrieu about the NOPD. The police force is pushing its 'Get Behind the Badge' recruitment campaign hoping to beef up much needed personnel numbers.

The goal is to eventually reach 1,575 officers. 'Today we're at about 1,150. There's 29 people in the current Academy Class. There's 64 people in background investigations for the next class. And there's well over 1500 people who've applied with an actual application to the NOPD that we're working through,' added Serpas.

The NOPD confirms 30% of the people in its recent recruitment classes have come from out-of-state. A flurry of applications coming from hopefuls like Green who would like to change the culture of violence in his hometown.

'Its time for change. This is a beautiful city. I want people to always feel safe to come to our city,' said Green. Superintendent Serpas says the average starting salary for an officer is in the low to mid 40s.

If you missed the recruitment event and want to learn more CLICK HERE. http://www.nola.gov/nopd/

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