TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Like many local law enforcement agencies across the state, the Twin Falls Police Department is having trouble filling open positions. Now, the department is working to recruit more applicants.
“When I talk to my cohorts across the Magic Valley, and even across the state of Idaho, we’re definitely seeing a decrease in the number of applications for law enforcement positions,” said Craig Kingsbury, the Chief of the Twin Falls Police Department.
The department has ten available patrol officer positions in total. Four of the positions were made possible by a federal grant the department received back in November, and the other six have recently become available.
To try and get the word out, TFPD is utilizing social media to appeal to younger applicants and is also attempting to hire people moving from out of state.
“We know that there are officers who are leaving departments in other parts of the country and may be looking to come and live and work in a different community,” said Kingsbury.
For those that apply, it will take time to get on the job due to the rigorous hiring process.
“That includes the background investigation. It includes a polygraph examination to make sure everything that the candidate is telling us is the truth," said Kingsbury. "It includes a psychological as well as a medical evaluation, and then the physical readiness testing.”
Following all of the background evaluation steps, there is still the academy applicants must attend. Riley Whitley, a patrol officer who was hired in August, has now been patroling just these past two months. For him, it was all worth it.
“You definitely have to study hard to get through it," said Whitley. "But once you’re through that and get into FTO (Field Training Officer), everything changes because it goes from knowing the material to actually being able to put it into practice.”
Still new to the job, Riley is very appreciative of the support from his fellow officers, helping him learn more every day.
“There’s so much to learn," said Whitley. "You learn everything in the academy, and then you get out into the street and realize you didn’t learn that much, because you can’t prepare for everything. But everyone has been so good at helping me along and helping me get through everything I need to do.”
Although the department has multiple open positions, they aren’t lowering their standards to ensure they get the right people for the job.
“We have a slogan here at the city of Twin Falls, that we’re an organization of employees who go by people serving people, and that’s what we’re looking for," said Kingsbury. "We’re looking for people who truly want to serve their community and make it a better place.”
Anyone interested is encouraged to reach out to the Twin Falls Police Department or head to the city's website.