For the first time in almost four years, police and fire departments are increasing hiring. Tightened budgets across the United States as a result of the recession led many departments to pare down their number of police officers or fire fighters in the past four years. However, the steady economic improvements reported across the nation and a growing population have once again sparked an uptick in hiring and signal that the hiring freeze may be thawing.
One example is the Grand Junction Police Department, which is expected to increase its staff in the near future – lifting a year-long hiring freeze. The Criterion reports that temporary hiring freezes were common for the department starting in 2009. Now, more than a dozen positions need to be filled.
"The police department was able to fill some critical positions during this time," GJPD Police Information Coordinator Kate Porras told the news source. "But in the last couple of years, the number of openings grew significantly due to attrition and difficulty recruiting suitable applicants. We are still catching up. The city just this year lifted the restrictions due to improvements in the economy, in addition to overall organizational spending reductions."
This is just one example of a police or fire department lifting its hiring freeze. Because departments are once again hiring, fire and police academies are looking to increase enrollment.
"We have certainly seen an uptick in our Academies. We, for the first time in 5 years had every seat filled in our Academy, in fact we had 7 additional seats causing me to conduct skills training on Saturday. Our July Academy is already full and my staff is ready to kill me because I asked them to look at the possibilities of running a third academy. Needless to say, business is very good!" Division Chief Michael T. McIntosh of the Adams County Sherriff's Office in Colorado told The Interact Business Group.
Academies experiencing increased enrollments should consider the merits of investing in software to automate their training management. Technology can significantly reduce the cost of training new hires and increase an Academy's student throughput. By converting manual and paper-intensive testing, scheduling and registration processing, training centers will reduce or eliminate overtime and achieve measurable improvements in training quality.