CHATHAM CO., GA (WTOC) - Savannah-Chatham Metro Police leaders have goals they want to achieve when it comes to recruiting and retention for the department in 2016.
Just last week, Police Chief Jack Lumpkin presented some figures to city council members at the annual budget retreat, to show what the department is doing to get the staff to full strength.
"It's not only about bringing new officers in, but it's maintaining the officers we have and the experience that we have. But a big part of that is making sure we take care of the officers we have, and also while we're trying to bring in new officers and generate new interest in the department," said Lt. Robert Gavin, the Recruiting Commander for SCMPD.
Taking care of current officers was one talking point Chief Jack Lumpkin brought up during last week's budget retreat. That not only includes leadership management training and employee recognition, but also making sure the department is competitive with pay and benefits.
The department's efforts this year are already yielding some significant results.
Gavin said, "We have gotten a large rise in the amount of officers who are certified already, who have returned to the police department, some that have been here before and then others who are coming from other agencies. So that's been a change that we haven't had in years."
The department also credits ad campaigns that air during big network sporting events for drumming up interest and drawing recruits. Ninety officers and recruits have been hired since the first of the year, but that still leaves around 55 vacancies. SCMPD plans on hiring 120 to 130 officers over the course of next year.
"We're trying to identify those with the competence and character. We're trying to pick the best officers that we can," said Gavin.