Canon City is trying an aggressive approach to find the best candidates for open positions on its police force.
Chief Paul Schultz called the approach unique among law enforcement agencies. He's sending three, 2-person teams of officers to some of the 30 police academies in Colorado.
Schultz said he wants to find the best candidates and appeal to those who may not have considered working in a small-town police department. He said candidates may already be working in law enforcement, or may be enrolled in or have recently graduated from an academy.
Canon City has between two and five officer openings, Schultz said, and he expects to receive around 1,000 applications. The city is authorized to have 36 officers and currently has 34, but Schultz said some retirements and re-locations are expected soon.
Schultz said new hires should be prepared to work more the the newest technology and to spend time walking their beats.
"Part of our technology is something called crime mapping," he said. "It gives the officers better direction on where to patrol. We can lower the crime rate with that. Last month, we had our officers complete more than 100 hours of foot patrols."
Sgt. Maureen Meisner, a ten-year veteran of the department, came from Minnesota. She said flexibility is the most important skill a new officer should have.
"We don't have a property crimes unit," she said. "We don't have a homicide unit. We just don't have those things. So all of our officers have to be very well-balanced in their skills."
Schultz said the department hired three officers last year; one from Colorado Springs and two from Florence.
Applications are accepted through Feb. 22. If you're interested, call 719-276-5299.