NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- Police officials hoped for 700 applications to seat a class of as many as 45 recruits this spring. By midday Friday, just over 400 had applied.
The deadline ends on Monday at 5 p.m.
"We had 600 show up for the open houses," said Assistant Police Chief Petisia Adger. The hope and history suggests that there will be a rush of applicants on Monday, officials said.
The department currently has 412 officers, about 40 below its budgeted staffing level. And a few dozen additional officers will be eligible to retire by the end of January.
"We had great success with the open houses," said Adger. Staff at the police academy detailed the requirements, explained the job and conducted a preparatory session of potential candidates for the physical agility exam required to get on the job.
There was a steady flow Friday at Police Headquarters.
Diego Cruz, 27, of New Jersey, served in the infantry in the Army until 2006 and remained in the reserves as a drill sergeant, so a career in law enforcement seemed like a natural progression.
"That's what I basically grew up doing," he said after submitting his application.
Dominique Johnson, 27, of North Haven, works at a pharmacy and is studying criminal justice at University of New Haven. Katherine O'Connor's father is a sergeant in the Norwalk department and he used to bring her to the bureau when he worked as a detective. She's wanted to be a cop "for as long as I can remember."
Andy Leng, also 27, dropped off his application on his way to start his shift as a security dispatcher at a local hospital. He'd applied at some suburban departments but hoped a city department might provide more opportunities.
The department had been recruiting for several months. The expectation had been that applications would be up in this recruitment because of the economy but unless Monday brings a rush applicants, recruitment might fall short of the 700.
There were several theories. During the open houses, some prospective cops express concern about whether there could be any additional layoffs at the department after 16 occurred in February, Adger said.
Others specifically asked about the frequent "changes of the guards" in the chief's office.
"In the end, it's a great profession. It's a great job. Look at how many divisions we have: Task forces, forensics, detective bureau. There an open door."
A recruit earns $40,826.
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Copyright 2011 - New Haven Register, Conn.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service