LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Louisville Metro Police will soon lower its requirements to become an officer with the department.
Police Chief Steve Conrad told a committee of Louisville Metro Council members on Monday night about two changes he plans to implement over the summer to try and increase the hiring pool for officers.
According to LMPD officials, two years ago around 1,700 people applied to the department, but last year only 1,000 people applied.
“We felt like we needed to do something to increase the number of people who are at least applying to the police department,” Conrad said.
The first change Conrad says will be implemented this summer is lowering the required two years of college education. The requirement has been in place since the city and county merged back in 2003.
“I think at the time when they decided to raise it to 60 credit hours it was probably well intended but had some unintended effects,” said Metro Councilman and former police officer David James (D-6).
The department will now only require a high school diploma to be considered for an officer position.
“I am looking for people who maybe have more life experiences,” Conrad said. “Maybe they were in a financial situation that didn't allow them to go to college. We can teach them what they need to be good, qualified police officers.”
Conrad says that change will be put into place as a pilot program over the next two years while the effects, if any, are studied.
“I think it's an outstanding plan,” James said. “It gives us the opportunity to have more candidates for the police department to interview.”
The other change Conrad is making is to the restrictions on previous drug usage.
“We have a requirement that says you must not have used, possessed or sold a narcotic in the last six years,” Conrad said.
Conrad is changing that to three years. “I'm not doing that so I can hire someone who has been selling drugs,” Conrad said.
“Throughout the country we've seen that to believe that young people in 2016 have not experimented with something is a little naive of us,” James said of the change to the drug policy.
LMPD is planning to hire 122 officers over the course of the next year.
The changes will be implemented some time during the summer.
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