Washington State Patrol to hire lateral officers for first time in its history
OLYMPIA, Wash. (KPTV) - After months of being understaffed, Washington State Patrol is trying out a new recruitment method.
Washington State Patrol is planning to hire lateral officers for the first time in their 102-year history.
Lateral officers are applicants who already work as certified officers for other agencies. The benefit is that they will already come with experience and will only have to undergo an eight week training program, rather than the typical six month program.
The officers will get a say in where they are station. Plus, for lateral officers, they’ll get an up to $20,000 hiring bonus, and for cadets, that bonus will be $10,000.
In an interview provided by WSP, the assistant chief says staffing has been a consistent issue in recent months and this new program is the agency’s attempt to fix that issue in a creative way.
“It’s a really great opportunity for us to bring folks on who maybe thought about being a trooper, and just didn’t, but weren’t interested in a really long extensive program that would take them away from their families,” said Assistant Chief Shannon Bendiksen. “So this is a shorter, condensed version of our trooper basic class and when folks come over they’ll have primarily the training that they need as a peace officer, and this is just gonna bring them the state patrol-specific training that they need to go out and work the road.”
WSP reported being down over 200 positions back in May, and the hope is the program is to get that number down.
The agency says they’re hoping they can get 40 officers for their first lateral training class, which will be in March.
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