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Help wanted at Green Bay Police Department

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) - As America ages more and more people are entering retirement.  And that is a reality all businesses, even police departments, have to face. As Local 5's Kris Schuller reports these days recruitment for the Green Bay Police Department is a full-time job.

Just a month on the job Jade Schneider is excited to be a new member of the Green Bay Police Department.

“I feel very lucky, it was a nice feeling after graduating the police recruit academy to have a job right after,” said Schneider.

Schneider is in fact the department's newest patrol officer recruit, brought in as the department deals with a wave of retirements. And Chief Andrew Smith says he needs to hire many more.

“We’re going to be in a hiring mode between now and next year and probably for the foreseeable future,” said Smith.

Chief Smith says last year a dozen officers retired. In 2018 he'll lose 15 more. It is a reality of an aging workforce and a trend expected to continue.

“I've been told we're looking at losing about 50 officers in the next five years,” said Smith.

Some of those replacement officers could come from Fox Valley Tech or here at NWTC. Instructor Matt Ninham says it's a good time for candidates to purse the career, but they must be committed.

“People who look at this job, not just as a job, it's a career, it’s a way of life,” Ninham said.

“We only take the cream of the crop that graduate from there, so we're pretty picky about who we take,” Smith said.

As shown this past Saturday where 100 candidates took required testing, but very few will meet Smith's high standards.

“If I get four or five qualified applicants that we end up hiring out of that pool, I’ll be happy with that,” said Smith.

The chief says he'd rather leave positions open than hire someone who could be a liability. Which is why recruitment here is a full-time job.  As he holds out for candidates like Patrol Officer Jade Schneider.

“My goal is to continue to learn and get past all the hurdles and challenges coming my way,” said Schneider.

When fully staffed - the department has 194 officers.

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