Aurora Police Department Changes Side Hire Requirement
“It will absolutely expand the pool, so I’m looking for a raise there, but it remains to be seen what that will look like,” a division chief said.
AURORA, Colo. — Police departments across the state are struggling to hire more officers. Aurora is suffering so badly that the city is now expanding its requirements so more people can apply.
On Monday, the Public Service Commission approved a request by Acting Chief Dan Oates to change a rule to allow additional side candidates, or people who move from one police department to another.
In a letter dated July 6, Oates said the department’s staffing was at “critical levels.”
Prior to his application, the City of Aurora required three years of experience as a police officer in a full-service police department within the past four years.
Oates asked the Public Service Commission to allow other experiences to be considered as well, such as time spent in the military police and corrections.
“We have to do everything we can to improve the workforce,” said division chief Chris Juul.
Juul said now that a candidate who wants to leave another agency for Aurora only needs one year of police experience, and the other two years can be another experience.
The Aurora Police Department lost about 70 officers, according to Juul. Many experienced officers quit their jobs and too few people apply to fill their positions.
“Our patrollers – who day after day – day and night respond to calls – do so with a reduced staff,” he said.
More than 40 officers have left the department since January, which is an improvement over the same period last year. But being down by dozens of agents impacts the time it takes to respond to less serious calls.
“I don’t think it comes as a shock to anyone that the most violent crimes, serious crimes have increased somewhat, and those calls are taking more officers to deal with and also taking longer to deal with,” did he declare.
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Officers are working overtime, and Juul hopes the change can help the department.
“It will absolutely expand the pool, so I’m looking for a raise there, but it remains to be seen what that will look like,” he said.
About half of the officers who left the department this year have resigned. Others have retired or gone on sick leave. Two officers were fired.
To encourage people to leave their current police jobs and move to Aurora, the city is also offering a bonus of up to $15,000.
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