Largest class of recruits in years joins Columbia Police Department
COLUMBIA - On Friday, the Columbia Police Department inducted eight new recruits, the largest class of officers in years.
The new officers include Albert Howard, Regenia Minks, Jordan Payne, Corinne Raney, Ryan Tarrants, Jacob Waldrup, Brittany Williams, and Matthew Wright.
New recruits spend 17 weeks qualifying to handle firearms, studying Missouri laws and codes and studying defense tactics.
Beginning on Monday, the eight new recruits will begin three weeks of orientation and then a four and a half month process of field work.
For the past couple of years, police departments and law enforcement agencies, including Columbia's have been seeing less qualified applicants. KOMU previously spoke with city council member Karl Skala in November, who said of the 173 positions at CPD, 12-15 are unfilled at any given time. Prior drug use and a lack of prior schooling are a few of the reasons potential applicants are being turned away.
KOMU reported last yea that CPD could use as many as 50 new recruits to cover all the duties currently being unperformed or tasked to other officers. More officers on duty would help relieve some of the stress current law enforcement face.
Lt. Jeff Jones said at a Citizen Police Review Board presentation in August 2016 that low staffing causes "elevated stress, it causes fatigue and it can lead to issues with decision making, even motor skills."