Reddin Belk, Pallad City Post

Rising crime rates, drastic budget cuts, and officer shortages have taken their toll on a beleaguered Pallad City Police Department. Public opinion of the PCPD has also fallen to an all-time low, with many Palladians questioning the department’s fundamental ability to maintain order, let alone clean up the streets.

The recent arrival of Afterlife—a drug that can cause psychotic episodes in users—has left the city reeling due to a surge of criminal activity. Non-Afterlife related crime has also been on the rise over the last few weeks. A power suit rampage at Horizon Global Solutions, an organ harvesting ring at the Fantasy Funland theme park, and a Halloween plot to kidnap Mayor Hynden Neville, were only a few of the major incidents the PCPD has dealt with. Now, as Afterlife cases climb, can the department hope to combat a threat of epidemic proportions?

Two years ago, the PCPD began implementing what would become known as the Fast Track Enrollment (FTE) program—a coordinated effort to speed prospective recruits through an accelerated police academy training curriculum. The revised pace of the program was expected to take only three and a half months and would effectively solve the department’s officer shortage concerns by taking in as many recruits as possible.

Last year, the PCPD “officially” initiated the FTE program and waves of new applicants were quickly filed through training, given badges, and turned loose on the streets.

The results were nothing short of disastrous.

Designed to be an already shortened three and a half months, most recruits “graduated” the FTE even earlier due to the city’s growing need for officers. Some recruits managed to finish their training in under two months, others in less, and were immediately transferred to the department and put on patrol. What followed were countless rookie officers with little basic training, no self-defense skills, complete lack of firearm knowledge, and a horrifying deficiency in proper legal etiquette.

Many of these officers would later quit the PCPD within months, while the remaining ones were thrust onto the front lines in countless do-or-die situations, ill-prepared for what awaited them.

Despite the FTE’s dismal results, the PCPD still continues to implement the program. The officer shortages also continue at an alarming pace, with rumors that the department itself has become so financially-strapped that they can no longer afford overtime pay.

Mayor Neville has been tight-lipped on his plans for the future of the PCPD. Word has spread that a privatized police force may be on the horizon. Vivid Defense’s current contract with the city has already brought Tactical Armored Units to several districts. Mayor Neville’s expected to reveal several new proposals next month, with PCPD budget considerations likely to be one of them.

Danger Zone One. Story by Midnight. Art by Salaiix.