D.C. plans to hire 300 new police officers, but the union says they might not be able to train them fast enough to keep up with departing officers.
The police department will be ready to train a class of 35 recruits starting Oct. 4, Mayor Vincent Gray said Wednesday. Monthly training classes will consist of 25 to 35 recruits.
Funding for the hiring begins at the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1.
The goal is to build the department to 3,900 sworn officers by the end of the 2012 fiscal year. About 3,800 officers are on the force now, but 15-30 quit or retire monthly, News4’s Tom Sherwood reported.
The force is dangerously understaffed, according to union head Kristopher Baumann. City leaders have known for years that the force is effectively shrinking and the new hiring plan won't fix it, he told News4’s Tom Sherwood. People leave faster than new officers can be hired and trained.
The police shortage erupted at the monthly breakfast meeting of the mayor and D.C. Council. Gray said training was shut down before he was mayor.