KENNEWICK, Wash. – According to a press release from the Washington State Patrol, WSP has more than 250 job openings.
Following a nationwide trend of hundreds of job openings in law enforcement.
The Washington State Patrol is short on troopers so they are doing something for the first time in its over 100-year history of the agency.
Hiring and retaining problems have hit law enforcement agencies across the country and Washington is no different said Trooper Thorson.
“This is just another way for us to fill our trooper ranks and our field operations bureau,” said Trooper Thorson.
Thorson said the new lateral hiring option will help fill those empty positions.
Qualifications for a new entry-level hire are different than those of lateral hires.
According to Thorson, a new hire must go through six months at the academy and 10 weeks alongside a training officer.
Trooper Thorson said lateral hires’ training is condensed.
“Only looking at a four-week academy with a four-week coaching trip out in the field,” said Thorson.
Commander Coates said they did the same thing last year, which has worked for the WRPD.
“We had a push last year for hiring laterals,” said Coates. “We had a lateral bonus program. We did end up hiring a couple of lateral candidates from out of the area.”
Coates said the WRPD is currently fully staffed.
Trooper Thorson said they are just trying to catch up with other agencies who’ve adopted the practice of hiring laterals around the country.
“With the massive number of retirements coming down the pipe in the next three years, this is just an extra way to get certified police officers out on the road as soon as possible.”
According to Trooper Thorson, WSP is looking to hire two 40-person classes, with the first class ready by March 2024.