Patrolling for Officers

1 decade 11 months 1 day ago Tuesday, June 19 2007 Jun 19, 2007 Tuesday, June 19, 2007 10:41:14 PM CDT June 19, 2007 in News

The Columbia Police Department has seen a trend of fewer and fewer applicants to be a police officer during the past few years.

Since the early nineties, the numbers have significantly dropped.

"In 1990, I believe there were 200 people who took the test, this time we've had 46," Sgt. John Worden said.

The police department is trying to change the low numbers though higher annual starting salaries.

It's been raised about $2,500 just since last year.

The department tried to change its recruiting techniques to appeal to the younger generation by updating its website and having members attend career fairs to try and attract officers right out of college.

Worden said because of this there has been an increase in the number of younger people who decide to apply.

However, the police force isn't willing to lower its standards to try and get more applicants.

"We want to continue to have a professional organization and for us and for our city and for our citizens, I think our requirements match our community," Worden said.

The requirements to become a police officer include having to be 21, having at least 60 hours of college credit, and having a good character background.

And while the number of those applying has plummeted, the department said it's not really affecting the number of new officers being hired.

"We're having the same number of hires, maybe even a little bit of an increase," Worden said.

Worden said the increase could be due to the 20 year retirement plan, something the Columbia Police Department has always had, but few other police departments offer.

The Columbia Police Department hires new officers twice a year and is currently in the process of filling openings now.

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