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KCPD says they’re using new recruiting tactics to attract more people to take on a career in law enforcement

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Police are streamlining their recruiting process, in hopes attracting more qualified applicants to become police officers.

Commanders have challenges in finding people willing to take on an increasingly dangerous and difficult career.

It's been taking as long as eight months to process an application to become a Kansas City police officer. And during that time, commanders found they were losing good candidates to other law enforcement agencies.

Without changing standards, police expect to get that applicant processing time down to only two months. Recruits face a whole host of tests, including a criminal history check and physical agility and lie detector tests.

Finding good minority candidates has always been difficult, but now may be even more so in the current political climate of social justice protests.

"Really the biggest hinderance for minority recruitment is friends, relatives and other people who have told them stories about engagement with police," said Deputy Chief Karl Oakman. "A lot of time they are exaggerated. But it’s not necessarily them personally that have experienced that."

Minorities currently make up about 11 to 12 percent of Kansas City's police force.

Commanders say their biggest challenge is reaching out to those who have never considered a career in law enforcement.

The department also is forging partnerships with area colleges to recruit student athletes, many of whom are criminal justice majors.

Police also plan to launch two new youth police academies next summer. They'll be for children ages twelve to sixteen, to expose them to law enforcement career possibilities at an early age.