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Indianapolis police aim to attract, retain top talent

IMPD is one of the many departments throughout the country struggling to hire - and keep - full-time staff.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said they’re pulling out all the stops to train and keep top police department talent. 

IMPD is one of the many departments throughout the country struggling to hire full-time staff. Right now, IMPD has 200 openings - 1,843 officers is considered fully staffed.  

“We are one of those barriers between evil and the community. Fortunately, there are a number of people who chose to take up that fight. We are just looking for those out there that haven’t picked up that sword yet,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor.

IMPD is offering several incentives to those wanting to pick up that sword, including plans to offer one of the highest pension bases in Indiana and a $72,000 salary for new recruits. It would make IMPD one of the top-paying police departments for new officers anywhere in the Midwest. 

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Applicant Kevin Villagran said, for him, it’s not just about the money. 

“To be that change you want to see in the world, that is why I’m becoming a police officer. Not only for the community but for my family,” said Villagran.

In less than two weeks, the law enforcement community in Indiana has seen violence committed against their colleagues. Most recently, Richmond police officer Seara Burton is currently in "very critical" condition following a shooting during a traffic stop Wednesday. Noah Shahnavaz, an officer in Elwood, was shot and killed at the end of July. 

Credit: WTHR

Taylor said although these incidents are a tragic reminder of how dangerous the job can be, he doesn’t believe it’s totally to blame for the short staffing.

“People who are serious about law enforcement understand that there is an inherent danger with it. However, that calling is different. Those people who decide to put on this badge understand what they’re getting into,” Taylor said.

RELATED: 911 centers across Indiana in need of dispatchers

Villagran said as far as he is concerned, this is the best time to become a police officer and he hopes other people will consider doing the same.

“I do understand there is a lot of crime in Indianapolis alone. This is the best time for us to be that change. Not only to serve and protect but also to show the community that police officers are something valuable,” said Villagran.

Dedicated to a life of service.

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