Hartford Police Push Residents To Apply During Recruiting Drive

Hartford officials, in an attempt to boost the ranks of the police force, have opened the second recruitment drive in a year aimed at city residents.

The measure, announced Monday by Mayor Luke Bronin, follows a similar approach from March, when Bronin encouraged city residents to apply to the police department.

This latest recruitment drive lasts through Jan. 11, according to a statement from the mayor.

“We’ve placed a high priority on recruiting the next generation of Hartford police officers, and I encourage anyone interested in a career in community-oriented law enforcement to apply,” Bronin said.

Applications submitted through this recruitment drive will go toward a class of recruits police hope to field in July.

A previous group of applicants has been vetted ahead of another class that police hope to begin “by mid-February,” according to Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

Currently, the city has 373 sworn officers, who will be joined by a class of 14 recruits that entered the academy in August.

Since taking office in January 2016, Bronin has helped shepherd three police classes, the first major wave of recruitment for the department in about four years. Those classes have also been some of the most diverse in city history— about half of the recruits were ethnic minorities.

Before their arrival, the number of sworn officers had dipped by nearly 100, mostly through retirements, police officials have said. To make up for the deficit, department officials have put a renewed focus on patrol, at the expense of some specialized units, including mounted officers.

Bronin, who recently announced he plans to explore a bid for governor, was elected to the mayor’s office on a platform that stressed public safety and boosting police ranks. But he has struggled to find homegrown recruits to fill those ranks.

Earlier this year, outgoing Police Chief James Rovella attributed that difficulty to a lack of qualified candidates — city residents who did apply struggled to make it through the written and physical application process.

City residents interested in applying must be 21 or older and have either a high school diploma or GED and a valid driver’s license.

All applicants must pass physical, written and oral exams, as well as a battery of tests including a background investigation, polygraph examination and an interview with the police chief.

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