The Springfield Police Division is looking to add more officers to the force.
The division announced applications are being accepted until Feb. 22, with plans for the civil service exam to be held on March 2.
The Springfield police hires year-round, and are always looking for qualified police officers, but those who are not police officers must pass a civil service test with a minimum score of 70 percent as part of their application process.
“This test is primarily for entry level people or someone who is with a department part time or someone who does not have enough hours at a department to have lateral entry,” said Springfield Police Chief Lee Graf.
Ideal candidates must be at least 21 years old, be a high school graduate or equivalent, have 20/20 corrected vision, have weight proportional to height and possess the overall ability to sufficiently perform all of the essential functions necessary for the position.
If offered the position, candidates must then be able to complete approximately 21 weeks of academic and physical training, including 15 weeks of Basic Police Officer’s Training in an academy setting, and six weeks of Springfield department training.
“You have to be someone who likes people and serving people, how well you work with people and want to make things better for people. That’s important,” Graf said. “You have to have strength, but you want to have people who work well with people. This job calls for a little bit of both.”
Salary for the position ranges from $45,801 to $63,107 per year. According to research conducted by the job posting website Indeed, the average police officer in the United States makes $52,018 per year.
Over the course of the last three years, Springfield police has struggled to keep a full staff, which falls in line with the national average.
A report released in late 2018 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics shows there were around 700,000 police officers across the country in 2016 That’s about 23,000 fewer than in 2013, according to the report.
The report goes on to say that despite the recent dip in nationwide officers, there are still more officers than there were in 1990s and early 2000s. However, population nationally has gone up since the 1990s.
Springfield police has 123 officers on staff, but has enough room for 131.
Graf said that there are a couple of factors that have hindered nationwide interest in becoming an officer.
“This job does have a stigma that has developed over the last couple of years, which is a reason younger people aren’t applying,” Graf said. “Young people also think, ‘I can make more money for less stress somewhere else.’ This is a job where you risk your life.”
Because of this, Graf said that Springfield is working to take a more active role in recruitment when it comes to getting potential officers to sign up to take the civil service exam. Graf has been promoting recruitment around the Springfield area and has even taken to the division’s Facebook page to generate interest.
In 2017, with limited recruitment, 100 people signed up to take the exam, 79 showed up, 55 passed and 20 people were hired, according to Graf.
“I would love see 200 people show up for this test. That’s my goal,” Graf said.
For more information about the application process, you can visit the Springfield Police Division’s Facebook page. Applications are available online at The City of Springfield’s website.