WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) — The Wichita Falls Police Department is looking to recruit more officers for the department, and in an effort to do so, the department wants to remind the public that they’re hiring lateral officers.

President of the Wichita Falls Police Officers Association Steve Ginger said it typically takes about 13 months for a new recruit to finish the academy. But, there is an exception for those with experience under their belt that could lead to lateral officers being out in the field much quicker that a new recruit.

“We’re hurting for people just like everybody else is,” Ginger said.

Showing that the effects of the pandemic are still very much around. Ginger said they currently have nine new recruits in the academy, but said they could use a lot more than that.

“We’ve had some retirements, and then obviously some people that just, you know, they decide they want to go do other jobs, so there’s just, that’s normal. So, we’ve had quite a few retirements,” Ginger said.

In an effort to fill some of those vacant retirement spots, Ginger said they’re accepting lateral officers as well as new recruits.

“It’s good for the city. It’s good for the members because obviously we’re made up of police officers here in Wichita Falls, so it’ll allow us to get officers, hopefully, trained and on the street a little quicker than new recruits,” Ginger said.

Ginger said the department offers several benefits like take-home vehicles, and a retirement plan, and lateral officers could start off making up to $67,000.

But, Ginger said overall, the community’s support has been the biggest recruitment tool.

“Not just the police department, but other agencies as well. I know some of the larger cities may be having issues with that for different reasons, but we’ve seemed to have done a pretty decent job of having a good relationship with the community, and I think that’s an important part when you think about coming to work in an agency is the community going to support you, and are your citizens going to support you,” Ginger said.

That’s exactly what Wichita Falls is, a supportive community that backs the blue.

The Wichita Falls Police Department is accepting applications from new recruits as well as those with experience. If you would like more information on how to apply, click here.