GB Police: Officer recruitment a matter of quality over quantity

Green Bay Police Chief Andrew Smith says as the need to hire more officers becomes more dire, they will not lower their standards just to fill positions, December 17, 2017. (WLUK) 

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Jade Schneider grew up in a family of police officers.

She says that's part of the reason, she's always wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement, "So, I had the opportunity to do ride-alongs throughout high school, that also persuaded me to apply to Green Bay."

Schneider, a recent graduate of Fox Valley Tech's Law Enforcement Academy, is one of the Green Bay Police Department's newest recruits.

But the department still has several spots to fill.

"This year we're looking at 13 retirements during 2017," explained Chief Andrew Smith.

Smith says recruitment has become dire, as the department continues to deal with a wave of retirements, "Next year, I have projected 15 more officers that are leaving. People that have indicated they're leaving, and over the course of five years, 50 or 60 more officers are going to leave the department."

Chief Smith says the applicants are coming in, but he believes character is more important than just filling positions, "There's no shortage of applicants, I could go out and hire 15-40 people today, if we lowered our standards."

Smith says this is a transition period, the department will overcome, "Between the folks we have left, that are all really good, and the young folks that we're really enthusiastic about, I think we're going to be just fine."

As Schneider prepares to be officially sworn in as a Green Bay police officer.

She says she's excited to take the oath, to protect and serve, "People definitely look for the best, you got to be on your A game."

To be fully staffed, the department will need 194 officers.

Not counting the pending retirements, Smith says the department currently has 187 officers.

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