HILLVIEW, Ky. (WDRB) -- Not as many people want to be police officers these days, but Bullitt County Public Schools is hoping to change that.

This fall, the school district will launch the Criminal Justice Pathway, a program that encourages students to enter local law enforcement.

The Criminal Justice Pathway, a partnership with Campbellsville University, allows high schoolers to earn 24 college credits along with a certificate in policing. The program also offers free textbooks and tutoring.

"We're really trying to grow our own and keep them at home," said Lee Barger, director of college and career readiness at Bullitt County Public Schools. "Whether it's a need in policing or keeping our homegrown folks coming back to be lawyers, we want to supply our local community with highly skilled workers."

Recruiting good police officers — and keeping them around — is the top problem many departments face, Chief Bill Mahoney of Hillview Police said. 

"To have something here locally where the high schools are trying to promote interest in law enforcement would be very valuable to us," Mahoney said.

The chief said he aims to hire local officers, and the school district's program could help strengthen the community.

"If we can get qualified candidates that are from this area, who essentially know what Bullitt County is about, what the culture is about, what the people are like, their values and their morals, then it's gonna be a much easier transition for them into law enforcement," he said.

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