The state’s largest police department is trying something new to fill its shortage of men and women in blue. Des Moines police department spokesman, Sergeant Bruce Elrod, explains that they normally recruit civilians with no prior police experience, but this time they’re seeking people who already are certified peace officers. Elrod says the officers with experience will require only 10 weeks of training compared to the 20 weeks for normal recruits. The new recruits could come from a small-town police department, a sheriff’s department or the state patrol, but Elrod says they aren’t worried about upsetting other departments. Elrod says all departments are in competition already in looking for good recruits, and law enforcement is in competition with private business. The Des Moines P-D has 360 officers, but some are at the airport, some are just new recruits, and with other duties, they are far from full strength on streets of Des Moines.He says out of the 360, only 310 are available to answer calls and conduct investigations. He says the department is authorized to have 373 officers, and he says 35 officers are nearing retirement in a year. Elrod says requirements for the job narrow the pool of available applicants.He says they don’t want to lower their requirements to meet the need for officers. Elrod says they hope to have the new peace officer recruits trained and ready to hit the streets by April.
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