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Newly minted cops eager to hit streets

Published January 25, 2006 at midnight

Recruits joining the Denver Police Department say they can't see themselves doing any other job.

Take Daniela Barnhill, 36, who will begin patrolling the streets of Denver on Monday. She says she's eager to continue what has been a lifelong passion.

"During the first ride-along I did, I was hooked," said Barnhill, who was born and raised in Germany. "I can't imagine doing anything else. I mean, you get to see all aspects of life."

Barnhill was a sheriff's deputy in Jefferson County for almost 13 years. Because of her previous experience, she had to spend only 17 weeks training in Denver's academy, as opposed to 26.

She is one of a couple of thousand applicants eager to wear a blue uniform and badge in a department that's racing to keep up with retirements and even add to its patrol numbers.

Barnhill said the training at the academy was "a very humbling experience" because she had to retrace all the basics she'd learned over the years.

Selena Hollis, 26, a four-year police veteran from Detroit who will also start patrolling Monday, said her job as loss-prevention clerk at a department store led to her desire to become an officer.

"No butterflies, just ready to go," Hollis said about being on the streets again.

Other recruits, such as 25-year- old Patrick Walker, of Broomfield, have to wait until March to complete their training.

Walker never doubted he'd be a police officer one day.

"It's pretty much the only thing I've ever known," said Walker, whose father is sheriff in Chaffee County. "Nothing else appeals to me. I don't think I could have a job in business where at the end of the day I'd feel like I didn't help someone."

Recruits said one of the most appealing parts of the training was the 5-mile runs they did as a group, military style, where the slowest member may be placed at the front but is encouraged by his peers.

"And that's what they teach you at the academy, 'Don't give up, don't give up!' " said Detective Sharon Hahn, a recruiter.

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