The Coast News Group

OPD looking for a few good men and women

OCEANSIDE — The Oceanside Police Department is looking for 16 additional officers. Police Chief Frank McCoy said the search has been challenging.

The combination of police officers leaving or retiring, and a scarce pool of job applicants due to national “media bashing” of police has made the shortage hard to fill.

“Police is a hard quality come by,” McCoy said. “Everybody is hiring. The pool is very limited. Those who may have looked at law enforcement as a career are choosing a career that’s less scrutinized.”

The city is recruiting prospective candidates at job fairs and at neighboring Camp Pendleton.

The department has also created a recruitment video that it posts online and at screens at events.

Further efforts include mentoring high school students in the Academy of Justice program, and young adults in the police Explorer Program, who may have an interest in future police work.

Additionally Oceanside is considering sporting bumper stickers to let the public know the city is hiring.

“We’re doing our best to keep up with attrition,” McCoy said. “As police officers retire we

continue to scramble to fill those positions.”

Four Oceanside sponsored recruits will complete Police Academy training next month, and another in April, and then be sworn in as city officers.

The city is also working to laterally hire three officers from other cities. McCoy said one lateral hire was confirmed last Friday.

McCoy said the department is looking for top candidates and is not lowering its standards.

“We’re a great police department with a lot to offer,” McCoy said.

The department received city council approval to hire a consultant assistant to help conduct employee background checks on Jan. 20. The consultant will help process employment applications, and speed up the process of filling remaining vacancies.

Less than 11 percent of applicants are hired by the city for sworn officer positions, and less than 21 percent are hired for non-sworn positions with the department.