TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - Terre Haute police officials want you to know they're doing all they can to get the best people on the force. They're proposing changes to the application process.
Assistant Chief Shawn Keen says interest in police work has sharply decreased in the last two decades. He hopes by opening up the application process each year, instead of every two, more qualified people will take jobs in the city.
"In 1997, we had over three hundred applicants which created a qualified hiring list of approximately sixty officers. This last year, in 2016 rather, we had ninety-nine applicants giving us a qualified list of just over thirty applicants that could be hired."
New applicants must be at least 21-years-old but not yet 36-years-old. This means the department is targeting the millennial workforce. Keen says, based on research, many people in this range would not make good police officers. They are more likely to be obese, have financial problems or be drug users. Millennials also tend to want more flexible hours. Because of all this, the pool of applicants is naturally smaller.
Right now the application process is every two years. Keen is proposing to the city council that be changed.
City Councilman Karrum Nasser says, "We have to keep our applications for two years before we ask for new applicants. This will just shorten that time from one year so we're getting a better pool of applicants to fill those positions."
Keen says changing it from a two-year to a one-year list will encourage more people to apply.
"The way it's written currently, they may actually have to wait two years before they can even apply, whereas, doing is every year will refresh that list and it will give more opportunities to get the most qualified applicants."
Keen says many of the people who make the final qualification list are gone after six months because they took a job somewhere else. He says opening the application process each year will help grow the pool.
The Terre Haute City Council could vote on this change at the next regular meeting.