The Ocala Police Department is looking for aspiring police officers to help fill the department’s vacancies.
According to an OPD Facebook posting, applications are being accepted this week for the role of police officer. The prospective officer would first serve as a law enforcement recruit which is a non-sworn position within the department. From there, the individual would be sent to an approved police academy.
Once all the requirements have been successfully met, the individual would become a candidate for the sworn position of police officer. The salary is $45,900 per year and includes benefits, pension, a take-home patrol vehicle, and more.
Earlier this month, the Ocala City Council approved over $2.1 million in funds to help increase the department’s salaries in an effort to help fill the numerous vacancies.
During the city council’s regular meeting on November 16, Chief of Police Mike Balken spoke about the department’s recent staffing woes.
“This really comes on the heels of, quite frankly, a lot of anti-police sentiment that went on around the country the last two years. There’s not a whole lot of 19 year old kids that are watching the 11 o’clock news and saying, ‘I want to go be a police officer.’ So I think that alone cut down on the number of applicants,” Balken said.
Balken added that, “We continue to work hard at recruiting and retaining the best qualified workforce that we can find.”
Anyone interested in becoming a police officer can submit an application through the City of Ocala employment page.
The deadline to submit an application is Friday, December 3 at 4 p.m.