Champaign Police still dealing with staffing shortages

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) – It’s an issue happening across the country, and Champaign is no stranger to it either.

“For a variety of reasons, we have fallen below our fully authorized level of employment at the police department,” Tom Bruno, a Champaign city councilman said.

It’s something they’ve been dealing with for months. Bruno said city leaders have been working to aggressively recruit and retain officers, but they repeatedly run into a few problems.

Like waves of officers retiring, policing changes in the United States, and some current officers leaving because of the high risk of the job. Bruno said it’s time for a change when it comes to hiring.

“What has worked for us in the past is just being a good employer and paying generously. That no longer is all it takes,” he said.

That’s why city council has had sessions to talk about how they can change the hiring process, and make it better. Like keeping applications open all year round, instead of only a few times a year.

“It’s not a secret that nationally police recruitment can be challenging. So, stream lining our process to make more opportunities for more people to apply, and consider a career in law enforcement in Champaign is what our goal is,” Jeff Hamilton, with the city said.

There is another study session Tuesday night. The council is set to get an update from the human resources department about the hiring process. That meeting is open to the public and starts at 7 p.m. in the council chambers.

You can learn more about joining the police department here.

Learn more about the city councils last study session here.

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