HUTTO, Texas (KXAN) — The Hutto Police Department has been down four officers, and they want to fill two of those positions with more experienced police officers. But they’re facing competition from surrounding departments that are also hiring.
“If we’re on a shift and have two kmajor incidents happen, it’s very difficult for us right now to properly handle that,” explains Hutto Police Chief Earl Morrison, Jr.
The city says it’s getting creative by testing out an incentive for officers who have at least five years of experience. Applicants won’t have to take a written test or a physical fitness test to apply with Hutto PD. They will still have to go through field training and oral interviews, and the city says officers have standards on job performance.
By skipping several steps, Hutto can get officers on the streets quicker. A cadet, which is a non-certified citizen who has to go through the police academy, takes about eight months to get on the streets. Chief Morrison says they can get an experienced officer out on the streets in as little as eight weeks. “The quicker we get more help on the streets, the better we can police and keep [people] safe, but also in our interaction that we do, we get more coverage out there for the city,” explains Chief Morrison.
Hutto PD will also pay extra for an experienced officer, between $50,000 to $55,000 per year. The department currently starts out paying officers at about $44,000 a year, except for cadets, who make less. Chief Morrison says their pay scale is on the lower end compared to surrounding police departments, but he also says those departments are in larger cities with more resources.
Right now, the city has 34 police officer positions and they’re looking to fill two positions with experienced officers, the other two open spots are for cadets going through the academy. You can apply for either position at the city’s website.
At the Austin Police Department, the largest local law enforcement agency in Central Texas, offers a modified police academy aimed at officers who already have experience elsewhere. APD’s modified training academy usually has room for 25 candidates and runs 16 weeks.