CLAYTON, Mo. – The St. Louis County Police Department is looking for more recruits for the next academy class. Applications are open for the class starting in January 2024.
The current police recruits spent the day responding to mock calls to get them more hands-on experience.
“We’ve done a lot of the physical training aspect of it. We’ve started up the defensive training as well as firearms, but a lot of it has been primarily classwork stuff,” said recruit Xander Smith.
“It’s been really cool to see such a diverse group of people within our academy, because you learn from a lot of the academy instructors but also from the fellow recruits that we have. Each come from all walks of life. Some with prior experience, some with little experience.”
Smith recently graduated from college and comes from a law enforcement family. He knows it’s a rewarding profession.
“In law enforcement, you engage with people when they’re at their most broken, and you get to help them as they walk past that point,” he said.
Andrew McDaniel is another recruit and has five years’ experience in law enforcement. He said the county’s incentives to hire people with previous experience are why he moved from Rhode Island to St. Louis.
“When I started interacting with them in the hiring process, it was quick, efficient,” he said. “Coming from a previous law enforcement background, it takes many, many months to get through. But they really push to get good candidates through.”
Police departments across the country are looking at new ways to recruit and retain officers.
“Anyway that we can reach the public so that we can invite people into the department so that we can grow as a department, but also there are so many people out there that are looking for jobs that we are definitely providing that,” said Kim Haus, a recruiter for the department.
Twenty-six recruits are set to graduate in December. The next academy class starts in January.
“It can take a couple of weeks to a couple of months to move through the full hiring process. So, getting that application in now for that January academy class is key,” Haus said.
She said the department is adding more incentives. Earlier this year, the department added more paid leave for new parents.
“Be it that it is an employee that is pregnant or the spouse of, they get up to 80 hours of prenatal care, then you are able to receive 12 weeks of paid time off. That time is not coming out of your vacation time,” Haus said.
Smith said he’s answering a calling.
“He always had the phrase that it’s hard to talk someone out of something that he was so passionate about himself,” he said.