The Madras Police Department is thinking outside the box to help with recruitment.
“Just like every organization in Oregon right now, staffing is always one of the main challenges,” said Director of Madras Police Services Steve Bartol.
The Madras Police Department, like most law enforcement agencies, is struggling with recruiting and retaining staff.
“Especially the smaller agencies that will apply to larger agencies,” said Bartol. “So, you will have that challenge. You have people that retire and we’ve seen across the state and across the nation just leave law enforcement all together and move on to a different career.”
Currently, the police department has 13 officers with the need to fill four openings for a city of about 7,000 people.
The station is working with two law enforcement agencies to ensure they have all their bases covered.
“So if there are shortages here in Madras, we work really well with the sheriff’s office, said Bartol. “Sheriff Pollock has been really awesome about being attentive to that and responsive with that as well as lieutenant Chris Seever with the Oregon State Police as the area commander.”
Bartol says they just posted openings for lateral police officers, meaning officers who have had some experience. Also, the deparment is trying things like partnering with different organizations that allow law enforcement testing remotely.
These are just a few ways the department is changing things up to help with recruitment.
“You can actually apply online, test online, and take a physical agility in the area that you live in,” said Bartol. “So, we are trying to remove those stumbling blocks for people who might be hesitant to make that drive to come over.”
Elected officials in Madras have authorized additional officers and pay increases starting in 2023.