CLEVELAND — It's no secret that law enforcement agencies across the nation are struggling to recruit. But some departments are trying new measures to get more people in uniform.
While departments are down by the hundreds, the city of Toledo announced they will be changing its police recruiting policy to attract officers from across the state. Now they accepting transfers from other police departments.
“So lateral transfers, basically, [are for] anyone who's already a police officer in the state of Ohio that wants to apply with us and get hired, but does not want to go through the six-month academy again,” said Lourdes Rocha with Toledo police recruitment.
With this change, experienced officers from other departments could skip Toledo’s academy, making it easier to recruit from other cities.
“We can get qualified officers that maybe work in small towns or work in a bigger department close to the size that we are, and maybe just looking for a different, a different atmosphere,” said Rocha.
Their goal with this is to bring in more people. Right now they have 442 officers in the department, including those in the academy. They are hoping to get to 700.
“The goal is just to get as many qualified people as possible,” said Rocha.
They aren't the only ones getting creative. The Phoenix Police Department announced in November a list of incentives, including a $7,500 hiring bonus. They are recruiting in Ohio, already extending offers to four officers. This raises the question of what is Cleveland doing to keep their officers.
“We're down probably almost 180 officers now," said Jeff Folmer with the Cleveland Police Patrolmen Association. "I mean, we can't afford to lose anymore, but we actually need to start putting more officers on, so it's concerning."
Folmer says the need is greater than ever and wages play a big role, which is set to be discussed in the next month.
“Hopefully, the city and us work together on wages where we want to keep our officers and then hopefully even in the future, maybe an idea comes across where we can recruit officers here, but we have to be compatible on the wages,” said Folmer.
News 5 reached out to Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb who wouldn’t comment on the matter. We also received no response from the police department.
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