Huntsville police is working to get more officers on the streets.
WAAY 31 learned they're trying to get the city to allow them to hire certified law enforcement officiers from other agencies throughout the state.
"We'll lose 20 or 30 people every year, so it's getting tough to maintain a staff of about 470 sworn officers," That's why Huntsville police Chief Mark McMurray told us for the first time in three years they are trying to back the 'lateral hiring' process.
"You may be a campus police or a city police or you may be a sheriff deputy or a state trooper who would like to come join the Huntsville team and we can laterally transfer you in," McMurray explained this could help get the department closer to full staff, something we've been telling you they've struggled with for more than a year. "We're trying to keep our staffing levels constant throughout the year."
Natalie Bone, who lives in Huntsville, told us she hopes this gets the department up to full staff. "We need more officers on the street."
Currently, anyone who wants to be a police officer in Huntsville has to go thorugh the department's police academy. It runs twice a year, and lasts 18 weeks. McMurray told us with lateral hiring, officers who transfer into the deparment would go through a much shorter academy, lasting only 4 weeks.
Bone told WAAY 31 she hopes Huntsville police looks closely at who they're hiring to make sure officers who transfer in will be good additions to the department. "Not just running them through the academy. They need to know where these people come from. What their backgrounds were."
The city council is expected to vote ont he lateral hiring process at Thursday's meeting. If it's approved, Chief McMurray told us they'll start recruiting officers as early as next week.
The Huntsville police department is starting their next training academy in August, but that application process is closed. However, they're already recruiting for their academy that will start next spring.
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