Sunday, June 16, 2019 Elyria 75°

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Elyria Council votes to raise max age for police recruits to 40


ELYRIA— City Council passed an ordinance raising the maximum age requirement for police officer applicants from 35 to 40 years old Monday evening.

Police Chief Duane Whitely said the force has had trouble finding eligible recruits for the force and decided that this could help attract more applicants. The minimum age requirement is still the state minimum of 21.

“We’ve had people call us up in the past and tell us ‘I’m 36 years old,’ and we weren’t able to accommodate that,” he said.

Whitely hopes the department can accept military veterans who entered their service at 18 years old and ended their 20-year service for retirement. Having more veterans on the force could help have more officers already disciplined and experienced from military service.

“They’ve been through life experience alone of what they’ve seen in their careers, I think that would be a huge benefit,” he said.

The veterans won’t receive special training coming from the military from standard police training, but Whitely said he would be willing to change that process if needed.

The department has 81 officers with one retiring this month. The number of officers should be between 87 and 90, but Whitely said they can’t hire applicants fast enough to replace people retiring. The maximum amount of officers is 102, which Whitely said the department has never reached. The last time they had a staff of at least 100 was in 1998.

The requirement change will go into effect immediately, but the police department won’t start testing for those new applicants until the beginning of 2019.

The department tested applicants in late August to late September and is expected to hire new people in January.

Contact Bruce Walton at (440) 329-7123 or Follow him on Facebook @BWalton440 or Twitter @BruceWalton.

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