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Police departments are trying lateral transfers to keep up with turnover

Published: May. 12, 2022 at 5:29 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Police departments across the state are doing everything they can to keep up with increased rates of turnover. One tactic some entities are trying, including here in Toledo, is lateral transfers.

Columbus Police Chief Elaine Bryant told 13abc that a lateral transfer focuses on officers that have some experience under their belts.

“We’re looking to have police officers join our police department that are currently working as law enforcement officers in other agencies, and that would simply be an officer, specifically for this program, from the state of Ohio,” said Bryant.

Minimum requirements vary by department, for example, the Toledo Police Department (TPD) requires lateral transfers to be under the age of 44, but department leaders say these kinds of hires can be beneficial.

“We have someone with experience. We do the two-year minimum requirement for that. They’ve learned how to engage with people somewhat,” said TPD Recruitment Sergeant Lourdes Rocha.

TPD started the lateral transfer process last fall.

“We’ve had some interest. There have been a couple of people that have gone through the process and they are now on the street. Unlike our regular hiring process, right now it’s May to August, after August no more applications or testing and then we go off the list that we have. With laterals it’s an ongoing list,” said Rocha.

Columbus started the effort just a few weeks ago and Chief Bryant told 13abc they are already seeing success.

“It’s all about what’s a good fit for an officer and their family,” said Bryant.

It looks like several police departments in Ohio are following in their footsteps.

“I will tell you a lot of officers are leaving for personal reasons, for professional reasons, and they’re going to go to other agencies,” Bryant said. “So, if we have an opportunity to attract them here to Columbus we’d like to keep that talent in the state.”

“Right now, we’re trying to keep up with the classes, our academy, with retirements, and we’re having a hard time doing that. I think the lateral transfers, we’re hoping, will offset that and the number of people retiring,” Rocha said.

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