COLUMBUS, Ga (WRBL) – Columbus reached 37 homicides early this morning with the death of a 24-year-old Columbus man.
Many Columbus folks are wondering when the Columbus Police Department and other law enforcement agencies are going to begin to add more people to their departments.
The Columbus police department is still short over 80 officers. Assistant Chief Gil Slouchik says across the country large police departments like Columbus are experiencing the same issue.
“It’s kind of one of those deals that there’s just one group of people for us to draw from and everyone is competing for that same group of applicants,” says Slouchik.
The department lost officers over time to competing departments like Auburn and Harris County but also to Columbus State University and the newly created Muscogee County School Police.
“It’s whoever is going to give you better benefits and better pay,” he says.
They also go through a lengthy process to hire people. “We do extensive background checks. There’s polygraphs, psychological, drug testing. It takes a while to be vetted,” Sliuchik continued.
After the vetting process, aspiring officers must take the law enforcement entrance exam before they enter the police academy. Academy training normally lasts about six months.
And even after that, they’d like the new officer to be paired with an experienced officer before allowing them to be by themselves.
“We want to be able to put the best possible officer on the streets. Even though we’re short, we’re not going to relax our standards. We’re still going to have the same standards so we can put the best police officer that we can get on the streets for the citizens of Columbus,” Slouchik says.