LUBBOCK, TX - Lubbock Police Department signs declaring they are “Now Hiring” have been posted around town for a while, but they are now being taken down. Department recruiters have postponed the test originally scheduled for August, meaning some police academy hopefuls will have to wait until the next round in early 2018.
“You know we have had a really hard push for recruiting here at the Lubbock Police Department,” Sergeant Corey Nunley said. “We have hired several more officers over the last year or year and a half, in addition to the progress we made in the years before that. So we are very close to being fully staffed.”
LPD has hired around 70 officers this year. They have the budget and capability for around 433 officers and currently have 423. They expect to fill those positions after a round of interviews in the coming weeks, and maybe even hire more.
"We gave a test in April that was very successful, and we got more qualified applicants than we anticipated," Sgt. Nunley said.
Typically, they give three tests a year, but with this kind of growth, he added this is a ‘new normal.’
In the coming days, they will be calling the applicants who will not be moving forward in this year’s interview process.
"Because there is some disappointment if somebody is trying to get into this career,” Sgt. Nunley said. “There is no better place to work as a police officer than the Lubbock Police department, a lot of people do want to come here, and we want 'em. We are just going to have to wait a little bit."
Sgt. Nunley says support from City Hall was crucial to their recruiting efforts and growth.
City Council is working to create space to accommodate these officers. Long-term issues with the current facility have prompted a push for new facilities.
“Our current facility is misconfigured, we aren't able to use it efficiently, it is falling apart, it has had infrastructure issues for a long time,” Councilman Steven Massengale said. “We've never built a purpose-built facility for our police department. At the same time, we are growing.”
Massengale chairs the Facilities Committee, which has recommended building three substations located in the Northern, Southern and Eastern areas of the city, with a smaller administrative headquarters downtown. They say this model would help with faster response times and allow these officers to do more in the community.
"In other words, let's do something strategic to get these officers into the neighborhoods,” Massengale said. “That's what people want, because any crime that happens to you is the most important crime at the time, and you want police attention.”
The committee has recommended that model to City Council, and is waiting to move forward with concrete plans in a few weeks.
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