Independence Police Department tries new approach to train future officers

Independence Police Department patrol car

FILE: Independence Police Department patrol car, Independence, Mo.

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Down dozens of officers, the Independence Police Department is trying a new approach in hopes of finding people to train in its own backyard.

It comes as departments across the country report they are struggling to find officers to hire.

Kansas City’s police department is down hundreds of officers, with more retirements coming in the next few months. The Independence Police Department said last month that it needed to hire at least 30 officers and is offering hiring bonuses and referral incentives.

Now the Independence Police Department hopes a partnership with Metropolitan Community College will help long-term.

The department announced Monday it will expand its training program> It plans to use the Police Academy at MCC-Blue River in addition to the Kansas City Police Academy. The first class of candidates to attend the MCC program will be in January 2022.

“We are proud to work locally with Metropolitan Community College as we continue to address the public safety needs of our community,” Zach Walker, City Manager, said. “Education is a key part of creating a workforce that can meet the needs of our employers. Working with education partners like MCC is vital to the continued success of our community.”

The program consists of 19 weeks and a total of 750 hours of instruction. The Peace Officer license earned is accepted in all 50 states, according to MCC-Blue River. Additional training may be needed, depending on which police force hires an applicant.

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