RADCLIFF, Ky. (WDRB) -- Radcliff Police Chief Jeff Cross says violence towards law enforcement is causing a shortage of police officers across the country, and small departments are taking the biggest hit.

The Radcliff Police Department is three officers short of being fully staffed. It's now trying to keep people on board by increasing salaries and signing contracts. 

“Years ago, when we tested ... we'd have well over a hundred people testing for maybe one or two jobs,” Cross said.

He adds that in 2016, the number of people testing has significantly dropped.

“The number of officer shootings and the number of officers being shot are in the headlines quite a bit, so that has an affect also,” Cross said.

Even though his department is just a few people short from being 40 strong, he says it's a huge void.   

From writing tests, PT testing, background checks and polygraphs to 23 weeks at the police academy and another 14 weeks of street training, Radcliff police invests thousands of dollars into each officer, only to have many of them leave and go to larger agencies where they can specialize in different areas of crime.

“Over the years, RPD has lost several officers to LMPD,” Cross said.

That's why officers now have to sign a three-year contract with Radcliff Police when they're hired. But even that isn't enough.

“These things really add up when you have two or three or four that leave after a three-year contract. Then you’re starting all over again. It's pretty difficult,” Cross said.

Six months ago, the city raised the starting salary. First time officers now make $35,000 a year and every five years officers are guaranteed a $2,000 dollar raise separate from other raises they may get with rank.

“It's kind of a safeguard to give you a guarantee, something to look forward to,” Cross said.

If you're interested in becoming an officer in Radcliff, Chief Cross says applications are always being accepted, and testing is expected to start in several weeks.

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