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Columbus police accept lateral applications for first time in department's history

It's a race against the clock for the Columbus Division of Police, with 100 officers potentially leaving in the next few months.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Right now it seems like everyone is looking to hire help, that includes the police departments.

It's a race against the clock for the Columbus Division of Police, with 100 officers potentially leaving in the next few months through the retirement incentive program.

As CrimeTracker 10 has detailed, there is a staffing shortage with Columbus police.

“Anytime we are short-staffed with the numbers we should have, is going to raise a concern for us,” said Columbus Police Sergeant James Fuqua.

Columbus police is budgeted for 1,937 officers but are currently down more than 50 officers.

For the first time in the division's history, Columbus police will now accept applications from officers who currently work at other departments.

“It's always a concern when we don't have the numbers we would like to have on paper because we know that translates into actual boots on the ground and officers performing patrol duty because we know that is the backbone of any police department,” Fuqua said.

Columbus police say lateral transfers are the fastest way to get experienced officers onto the streets in Columbus, especially with so many upcoming retirements.

“The fact that we are going to be losing a substantial amount of officers because of the retirement incentive program, on top of natural retirements and we are already short-staffed the way it is. That's why it is critically important for us to institute this lateral program,” Fuqua said.

Columbus police have already been recruiting in cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Dayton. They plan to fast-track 50 officers through an expedited academy program since the officers are already certified in the state.

“With a department this size, there are a lot of opportunities for advancement to do other things and not just patrol,” Fuqua said.

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