On tap for the Lawrence Police Department: five new positions.
Lawrence Police Chief Ron Olin looks forward to the five new officers the department will have next spring, but he's also keeping an eye on statistics that show Lawrence is behind national police-to-citizen ratios.
"These five positions are very important to us," Olin said. "The practical application of having such a lean police department is that every single position is critical.
"Five positions is a big addition."
Beginning Monday, the city will accept applications for the new police officers. Olin said three current police officers will move to a traffic unit and two current officers will be promoted to detectives. The changes were approved in the fiscal year 2000 budget approved by city commissioners.
The department is currently training nine other officers, who will complete the academy in November. After that, they will have three to four months of field training, pairing with other officers on the street. The academy spans 20 weeks, but Olin said that would be expanded to 22 or 24 weeks next year.
Olin said the nine officers would bring the number of commissioned officers to 118, which is 82 officers behind the national average of 2.5 officers per 1,000 citizens (based on a population of 80,000) according to FBI statistics.
Applicants must be a U.S. citizen at least 21 years old as of March 27, 2000. They must be high school graduates or have received a certificate of equivalency (G.E.D.); a university degree is preferred. Applications are due at a written examination on Nov. 6.
Applications are available at the city's administrative services on the second floor of city hall, 6 E. Sixth.
-- Chris Koger's phone message number is 832-7126. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.