The Jackson Police Department (JPD) is looking to overcome recruitment difficulties by removing barriers and making an investment in the future. This month, JPD is sending police recruits Antoinette Lewis and Nikolas Rincon to the Mid-Michigan Police Academy at Lansing Community College. Once they’ve completed training, the recruits will be offered the next available patrol officer openings with the department. JPD has previously sponsored members from both its cadet and reserve officer programs through police academy training. However, this is the first time JPD has specifically hired recruits to send directly to the police academy.
Elmer Hitt, the Director of Jackson Police and Fire Services, says police agencies across the country are having challenges filling officer positions. He says this may be due to a declining interest in law enforcement careers. “It is our hope that this new recruit program will help to provide yet another opportunity for us to fill our officer vacancies, and keep our department well-staffed in order to provide a level of service the community deserves,” Director Hitt said. “Our recruits have a lot of interest in police work, so we’re glad to support them in their careers.”
JPD is covering Lewis and Rincon’s tuition at the police academy and paying them a police recruit wage during the training. They have both signed agreements to work in Jackson after training is complete. Rincon, a 23-year-old from Mason, says he’s grateful for the opportunity. “This is great because I won’t have to worry about getting hired somewhere while I am at the academy. I can just focus on my training,” Rincon said.
Lewis, a 24-year-old from Lansing, says this is the boost she needed to becoming a police officer. “I’m looking forward to making a positive impact in people’s lives and building relationships with the community,” Lewis said.
Both recruits are expected to complete training in Dec. 2021. If this new strategy proves to be successful, JPD may continue paying police academy tuitions in the coming years.