Elyria City Council passed an ordinance Monday night which will raise the maximum age of police recruits from 35 to 40.
Police Chief Duane Whitely said he has turned down dozens of applicants over the years because of age, making it harder to fill an already short staff.
"I just think it’s a good pool of people that we are missing," Whitely said. "We are limiting ourselves with a lower age limit."
The department has budgeted for 90 officers, but Whitely said they are about a dozen officers short of that, making it hard to serve the community effectively and efficiently.
"Every unit in the department, each of the shifts, the investigative unit -- everybody is short people," he said. "Which means there are less people to handle calls for service. There are less people to investigate cases. Well, the calls for service are dropping. The cases are dropping."
Chief Whitely said the last time staff was at least 100 officers was back in 1998. Getting those numbers back is a goal for the chief, and he's hoping the new age requirement helps.
One group of folks Whitely hopes to get more of is veterans.
With the length of service, they are automatically disqualified in the city based on their age.
"There is a 20-year retirement for the military. If you go in at 18, and you work 20 years, you are 38," he said.
This age restriction doesn't apply to folks who are already in law enforcement, transferring to the city.
The new age requirement kicks in starting early 2019.