The Kyle Police Department plans to add seven police officers to the force this year in an effort to help keep the growing city safe.
Roughly 70 applicants filed for the seven positions when the Jan. 18 deadline arrived. Last week, 40 of those applicants hit the field for physical training and a written exam.
Currently, there are 52 authorized officer positions at the department. This new hiring process should bring the department up to staff.
“Public safety is a priority in our city, and we work closely with our law enforcement to ensure that we are doing everything we can to keep our citizens safe,” said Kyle City Council Member District 4 Alex Villalobos. “We are obligated to ensure this service to our citizens and we have high standards for anyone wanting to join our city’s police department.”
The new positions were budgeted in the city’s 2016-2017 fiscal year budget, bringing no additional cost to city taxpayers.
The Kyle Police Department falls under Texas Local Government Code that ensures all officers hired to the force are certified through the state and the respective local municipality.
For the seven officers who will earn the position, they must have certification from the state.
If they do not have this certification, they must complete the six month course work issued by the state before participating in Kyle’s training program, which takes around 20 to 22 weeks.
“In total, the program takes about 11 months to a year if officers do not have the state mandated certification,” said Kyle Chief of Police Jeff Barnett. “If a candidate had previously worked for another city’s law enforcement and already received the state mandated certification, they would only be responsible for the training here in the city.”
The field training program in Kyle serves as the opportunity for new officers to learn and train in the community they will be serving. The officers selected to the vacant positions in Kyle may not be out in the field until early next year, depending on previous experience.
When hiring new officers, the city looks at previous law enforcement background, as well as various training requirements, Villalobos said. With the large quantity of applicants, experience will play a major role in deciding who gets the positions.
“All of these things play a big role in who we consider for the job,” Villalobos said. “We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin if we hire completely new officers.”
Barnett said council has been supportive in staffing and equipping officers with the necessary tools to keep the city of Kyle safe. With the growth of the city and more traffic along the Interstate 35 corridor, Barnett said the police department is ready to tackle growth in a safe manner.
“We’re going to continue to get bigger as a city, and as you grow, there is more demand for services,” Villalobos said. “We are looking at the best qualified candidates for these positions – our citizens deserve the best law enforcement we can provide.”