In late August, the Kansas Highway Patrol Command Staff announced that for the first time in the Patrol’s 84-year history, a Kansas Prior Certified Lateral Transfer/Condensed Academy, Class No. 63, will be held at the Kansas Highway Patrol Training Academy in Salina.
The basic recruit trooper condensed academy will begin on April 24 nd end on June 29, 2022. The class will provide for qualified Kansas CPOST certified officers to apply for a trooper position. Qualified candidates who successfully pass the comprehensive trooper screening process will go on to complete 10-weeks of specialized recruit trooper basic training at the Kansas Highway Patrol Academy (KHPTA) in Salina before entering the next phase of field training with an assigned field training officer.
Qualified applications are now being accepted for Class No. 63 with the intent of allowing currently certified Kansas law enforcement officers to apply for consideration to the patrol’s Kansas prior certified condensed academy. To be eligible for the condensed academy class, applicants must be a current Kansas certified law enforcement officer, in good standing with KSCPOST and have a minimum of three years of full-time law enforcement experience at the time of application.
Lieutenant Cory Beard, the agency’s recruiter, regularly collaborates with KHP command staff, the agency’s public and governmental affairs unit and human resources department with researching and identifying new ways to attract personnel to the agency.
“By having this unique program opportunity, it allows us to decrease the length of the traditional academy due to the composition of experienced prior certified officers, so we can put additional professionally trained Troopers on the road sooner,” Beard said.
The need for more troopers on Kansas highways is a top priority for the KHP. Since the start of COVID-19, the patrol has seen a 60% increase in citations for motorists driving more than 100 mph and a 40% increase for violations of more than 20 mph over the speed limit.
Command staff and agency recruiters have been working diligently to recruit qualified personnel to the agency. In doing so, they have encountered obstacles relating to the current national climate toward law enforcement officers, as well as the highly competitive environment among law enforcement agencies to attract from a limited pool of qualified candidates. The agency’s goal is to inform the public of the challenges the agency is facing with recruitment and actively try innovative and reliable ways to recruit qualified personnel.
Law enforcement agencies nationwide are struggling to recruit, and hire sworn and non-sworn civilian employees. The difficulty in recruiting law enforcement officers is not due to one cause, but multiple social, political, and economic factors at play. In a survey conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), 78% of agencies reported having difficulty in recruiting qualified candidates while 50% of agencies reported needing to change agency policies to increase the chances of gaining qualified applicants.
Command staff and recruiters have been working with human resources to successfully create a more streamlined application and hiring process to be more efficient and responsive to applicants.