The Chattanooga Police Department is on a mission to hire trained, experienced officers to fill several dozen vacancies and it's taking measures to make sure they are put on the streets faster.
There are about 40 positions available for qualified applicants. It's been seven years since the department has offered up break in the time an officer has to spend in the academy. It's a concession for applicants already employed in law enforcement.
From mentoring kids to changing tires, catching the bad guy and catching the burglar. Police officers ask you to slow down and stop you when you don't. They also keep us safe and run toward danger, when we need them most.
"It's always a good job always something new out there, something challenging, " said Capt. Kim Noorbergen, Chattanooga Police Dept. " We have good days and we have bad days but we are always there to do our job and do what's right."
Captain Kim Noorbergen says the Chattanooga Police Department hopes to increase it's force by 20 or more officers.
"We're currently at around 440 officers which means 250 uniformed police officers out in patrol cars ....we need more uniformed officers right now," said Capt. Noorbergen.
CPD is now offering a shorter training academy for experienced officers. The goal is to get them trained and out on the street as soon as possible. While traditional cadets have to complete a 22 week program with 16 weeks of field training, the new lateral academy will be a 4-10 week course with only 2-6 weeks of field training after. Experienced recruits will also be eligible for a multi-year bonus over a 4-year period with a starting salary of $35,913 dollars which is nearly 1,800 hundred dollars more than a new recruit makes.
"The way it works... by the time they reach 6 years with our department, they will be at the same pay as the 6 year officers," said Capt. Noorbergen.
All applicants must have at least 2 years experience working as a certified officer. Officials say the new course will cut out basic paperwork and policing practices but include extensive active shooter training in light of the July 16 attacks.
"We want to put the best out there, we want to have the most qualified and most experienced," said Capt. Noorbergen.
CPD reports losing about 3.5 % of officers each year. It's a retention rate that's attributed to promotions, relocating, retirements and officers getting out of police work. The deadline to apply for the lateral academy is Wednesday Jan 13, 2016.
To find out more information about the lateral academy visit here.