STATESBORO, GA (WTOC) - Eight cadets to the police academy may not sound like a lot. But it could certainly help shore up what's been a long-understaffed department.
This week, the eight began classes at the academy in Savannah. But the process to get them there started in August when Statesboro City Council voted to raise taxes in order to fund pay increases for new officers in order to help attract and retain officers and fill nearly a dozen vacancies.
"It helps a lot of people who may have been on the fence. They wanted to get into this profession but weren't sure if they could afford it. It was the decisive factor, I think, in some of the people deciding to come on board," Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead said. "We don't necessarily have to have the highest salaries. It would be nice, but we don't have the resources. We just need to stay competitive."
The chief says cadets have 11 weeks of academy instruction before they graduate.
The chief says they still aren't taking the "Help Wanted" sign out of the window. It will take weeks and months for these cadets to get out of the road as officers. And they could lose other officers in the meantime and still be fighting the numbers.