With Heavy Hearts, Out-of-State Police Recruits Arrive at Dallas Police Headquarters for Testing and Training

About a dozen men and women at Dallas Police Headquarters Thursday completed their first day of recruit field testing.

It's the first step in a long process that will take them from police recruits, to Academy cadets, to rookie officers.

The first days of field testing and paperwork for new recruits happens at headquarters. Most of the classes and testing has been canceled this week, especially for those who live in the area.

An exception was made for a group of about a dozen men and women who live out-of-state and had hotel or flight reservations. For them--despite their heavy hearts--their journey has begun.

Rachel Fischer is among that group. She's 21-years-old, and recently graduated from University of Oklahoma with a degree in Criminology.

She was born and raised in Oklahoma, but she said she wanted out of the Sooner State. And she wants to be part of Dallas.

"I like the area. It's a big city, a fun city I’m tired of Oklahoma. It’s so small," she joked. "There's nothing to do."

Her journey to becoming a rookie Dallas police officer will take about a year.

Today, her soul is filled with sadness.

"It's a little overwhelming to be here in Dallas today, considering everything that's happened," she said.

Fischer drove into town from Norman late last night, checking into her hotel around 11-o'clock.

There are three days of testing at police headquarters, then she'll drive back to Oklahoma.

"I'm very excited at the prospect of working with Dallas. It would definitely be a dream come true," she said.

On this first day of testing, she did a 300 meter sprint and a 1.5 mile run. There was also a lot of paperwork to fill out, documents to review and waivers to sign.

"There's some pre-polygraph test work and reviewing booklets, signing waivers so they can pull your information from previous employers and criminal background, a lot of things online to review. Then, they schedule you for your civil service test and polygraph test. Then you're done for day one. It's a long day," she said with a smile.

As the deadly ambush unfolded one week ago, she got countless phone calls and texts from friends and family.

"They were very concerned. Some of them were asking, 'Are you sure you want to do this? It's so dangerous.' Others were like, 'I'm proud of you. Don't let this discourage you. Don't be afraid.'"

"Did it discourage you?" asked NBC 5.

"No. Truthfully it does make you afraid. But the reality is there are bad people everywhere. Bad things happen every day. I want to be one of the people that makes a difference," she said.

"The events that happened, it’s clear that this city needs good officers, good role models, a positive change," she added. "I want to be part of that change."

During her first day of testing at headquarters, she met several officers and her group had a brief discussion with them about the tragedy. The officers told them to keep their heads up, and be proud to serve the city.

"They were just kind of saying small words of motivation. 'Don’t let it get you down. Don’t let it discourage you. We need you guys.' Very, very supportive. You can tell the department is close-knit and supportive," she said.

Before she left the building and drove to her hotel, Fischer paused at the memorial outside. She reflected on the flowers and signs dedicated to the five officers killed. She signed a private note on one of the placards.

"I’m very sad about what happened here. It’s a horrible loss, and a difficult time for everybody," she said.

Fischer said she's more committed than ever to serving on the streets of Dallas.

"I want to help people, to make things better," she said.

If all goes well, she could start the police academy in October.

Meanwhile, Dallas police recruiters said they've received close to 1,000 e-mails over the last week alone from people interested in becoming a Dallas police officer.

Police said it'll take weeks to sort through all of those inquiries.

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