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Lancaster Bureau of Police addresses officer shortages

State and city officials met on Tuesday to discuss ways to incentivize new applicants, including a possible $6,000 signing bonus.

LANCASTER, Pa. — The Lancaster Bureau of Police is searching for new officers to fill a shortage, but getting candidates is not easy.

On Tuesday, the bureau and Mayor Danene Sorace met with State Attorney General Josh Shapiro in a closed-door discussion on how to attract candidates.

In a conference that followed, Shapiro called on state lawmakers to give new police officers a $6,000 signing bonus, scholarships for training required and crisis patrol units.

“So local leaders, on the frontlines could have the tools to be able to not just address the violence but to address the very mental health needs in our community today,” Shapiro said.

Currently, the bureau has filled 138 of the 145 budgeted positions, but the city is worried as some officers are at or near the age of retirement.

“Yeah, we're at a really good staffing level right now, but who's coming behind them?” asked Sorace.

With application at a record low, the bureau says there’s a need for candidates that are either bilingual, women, or people of color.

“I think a big part of is on all of us to reach down in communities that have oftentimes been ignored and say we want you to be a part of this building process,” Shapiro added.

The bureau says they plan to actively recruit in schools to gain younger applicants.

Although the police officer exam deadline has passed (Sept 11th), the city says there are many events in the future for candidates to meet officers and get information on joining.

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