The Lawrence Police Department was awarded about $1 million by the Lawrence City Commission on Tuesday night in order to temporarily hire more than the allowed number of police officers to combat an unprecedented amount of upcoming retirements.
On average, the department sees about eight officers leave each year due to retirement, resignation or termination. The department is expecting nearly 20 retirements in 2016 however due a mass hiring that took place back in 1991.
In 1990, the Lawrence City Commission approved a one-half sales tax increase in order to raise money needed to expand the Police Department’s officer capacity. This led to the hiring of 29 new officers, 19 of which are still on active patrol for the Lawrence Police Department.
The average retirement requirements for an active-duty police officer is to complete 25 years of service and reach 50 years of age. The 19 officers remaining from that initial hiring boom in 1991 will be retiring within the next couple of years, according to Lawrence Police Department’s Public Affairs Officer Trent McKinley.
With the money provided by the Lawrence City Commission, the department will now look to hire 19 new officers and plans to begin their academy training in June of this year. These officers will be ready for active duty around this time next year.