The Albany Police Depart is engaged in a recruitment campaign to get its officer corps up to full strength.
Albany Police Chief John Proctor meets with members of his recruitment team, who are spending a lot of time traveling to college and military base job fairs. APD is hiring, but only what Chief Proctor calls the right people.
"Last week we interviewed 19 people for entry level positions. And I made offers to 16. That was after approximately 200 people started the initial process," Proctor said.
Chief Proctor says APD was facing a "massive shortage" of officers when he took over, and much of his time since then has been spent filling the department with quality police officers.
"That has been our struggle. Of finding that quality person that we think should be representative of this organization. And representative of this community."
The Chief says driving and shooting tests in their training are tough, and some recruits will not pass. So recruiting, hiring, and training has become a year round process for new entries. But Chief Proctor says they will not just hire anyone.
"We will take out time to get the most qualified people," Proctor said. "The people that are most dedicated to the community. I do want to say that we still have openings. And I want folk to put in for those positions."
Albany Police advertise on radio and television in some cities, as part of their hiring drive. Recruiters will be bringing in another group of potential employees in late June or early July, looking for another 13 officers. Because they know some officers will retire or move on to other jobs.
"You will have some folks that will transition from one place to another. And our hope though is to make this a place that they want to make it a career."
An ongoing process to keep the maximum number of police officers on the streets.
APD is budgeted for 214 officers, and right now is about 20 officers short of that level, and has a $16 million budget.
Officials say they are actively recruiting at colleges and military bases, and they stress the need for quality over quantity. They want officers who will stay with the system for a long time.
APD offers the training program for people who do not already have POST certification. Starting salary for a rookie officer is over $33,000 annually.
Albany Police Department prefers people from the Albany area, but they're also casting a nationwide net to attract candidates.