4/21/2014

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Yakima Police yet to fill 8 positions in the department

Yakima Police yet to fill 8 positions in the department
YAKIMA, Wash. -- Finding people to wear the badge here in Yakima is not that easy. YPD has eight well-paying jobs it's trying to fill. That's despite already hiring 15 officers since January.

The more officers, the better -- right? YPD says of course!

"We'd probably look to make sure our patrol was all full, then maybe increase the Gang Unit," said Yakima Police Captain Greg Copeland.

That will likely be a distant dream for quite a while. The problem is YPD can't seem to fill its eight open positions.

"Seems like we're constantly going through the process," said Copeland. "(We're) trying to get to the end, but we have people that retire."

A constant ebb and flow in a department with about 140 officers. That's about an officer and a half for every thousand people in Yakima.

"Think we're pretty adequate," said resident Erik Molnar. "We're a small town, not like Seattle."

But, YPD competes with Seattle for the best candidates to wear the badge.

"First of all they have to pass a written exam," said Captain Copeland. "Then, there is a physical fitness test they have to take and then pass an oral interview."

But even if they pass those three, they still have to pass a medical and psychological test, a polygraph and a full background check. It's why it takes at least 10 people to get one candidate.

And, even that one candidate might not get to wear a uniform. It all depends on passing the police academy.

A candidate failed about two weeks ago and had to leave the department. That cost YPD about $10,000. A high price to pay to find the right people to keep you safe

YPD maintains there are plenty of officers on the force to secure the city. However, filling open positions will reduce overtime costs.
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