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Denver police struggling to fill recruitment classes, falling short of Mayor Johnston's 2024 budget goal

Denver Police
Posted at 7:05 AM, Apr 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-11 15:50:40-04

DENVER — Recruiting efforts for Denver police are falling short of Mayor Mike Johnston's 2024 budget goals.

Training for the first class of recruits begins on Monday, with just 36 spots filled.

Right now, the department has three recruit classes planned for the year, with a chance for a fourth, according to Doug Schepman with the Denver Police Department.

"While hiring for the first class of 2024 fell short of the goal for a full class of 55, there is a possibility of adding a fourth recruit class this year comprised of budgeted recruit officer positions not filled in the three planned classes," Schepman said.

This is an effort to meet Mayor Johnston's goal of adding 167 new officers to combat the city's rise in crime rates.

He proposed the increase in September, budgeting $8.2 million for the additional police strength.

Schepman said DPD is authorized to have a maximum of 1,639 officers, and as of March 22, they had 1,515.

"We also continue recruiting in an intentional way focused on hiring new officers who are representative of the communities we serve. Community engagement is a big part of that process," Schepman said. "The lengthy process for testing and hiring officers, we believe, is a challenge in filling classes to capacity. DPD is in conversation with the Denver Civil Service Commission regarding some potential process improvements."

During a press conference on Wednesday, Johnston shared ideas to fill positions.

"It is critically important that all of our recruit classes will still be going through for the police department protected, those are moving forward. So we were not going to change any part of that. We may be working on lateral hires for officers who could come in out to be able to fill positions as well through a lateral recruit class," Johnston said.

If DPD does reach the goal of 167 recruits this year, Johnston said it would be the largest number of new officers in 20 years.

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