COLORADO SPRINGS — It's a new year, but the Colorado Springs Police Department is still facing a familiar problem when it comes to staffing. News5 is taking a closer look at recruitment efforts within the police force.
CSPD hopes to add more than 100 officers by the end of the year, but even then more officers will be needed, as the city's growth shows no signs of slowing down.
CSPD tells News5 it currently has 745 officers, but not all of them are on the streets at this moment. Some of those officers are currently in the academy. Resources continue to be stretched thin. The department tells News5 it is down 84 patrol officers right now.
"As far as it being difficult, as far as the staffing levels it's tough," said Keith James, a newly hired CSPD patrol officer. "That makes whoever comes in, like myself, want to get in there an contribute and want to do more."
With his family calling Colorado Springs home, James says he definitely saw a need at the police department.
"It's hard to have a voice if you're not sitting at the table. So, I wanted to have a voice and I wanted to step up and be a part of something great and I was given an opportunity to do that," said James. "I would encourage anybody regardless of background to have a voice and step up and be part of the team."
Motivated additions to the police force will be crucial for public safety goals going forward, with the city seeing more than 300,000 calls for service coming in year after year.
"It hasn't been under 300,000 since 2016. Granted, that's about 800 calls for service per day," said CSPD Recruiting Officer Ruselis Perry.
Perry faces the important job of recruiting and identifying the city's next generation of police officers as call volume is only expected to increase.
"A lot of people have the calling, but they are a little nervous to do so because they are afraid of the scrutiny, they are afraid of the risk, they are afraid of the liability. There are a lot of different facets that come with policing. However, they are not going away and the need is always going to be there," said Perry.
This year CSPD is authorized for 803 officers. The hope is the academy will help add 72 officers in April and another 72 officers in December.
During the next 5 to 10 years police department leaders project the city will need a new substation in the northeast part of town and a force of roughly 955 officers.
"At one point we did require degrees and we did require specific training. So, in that sense yeah we have lowered the bar slightly. Let me say slightly because we are still a very tough agency to be a part of," said Perry. "The process is long, but it's very well worth it. When you get that final call and that final job offer it's amazing as many officers before me will tell you."
If you would like more information on qualifications required for open positions both sworn and civilian at the Colorado Springs Police Department you can find those details here: https://coloradosprings.gov/police-department/page/police-employment-0
Questions about the job? You can contact CSPD Recruiting Officer Ruselis Perry at (719) 444-7437