Lexington police working to fill officer vacancies while maintaining high standards

Lexington police working to fill officer vacancies while maintaining high standards
Published: Feb. 1, 2023 at 12:04 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Lexington police are looking to fill openings at the department during a time when policing shortages are being reported nationwide.

Earlier this week, Police Chief Lawrence Weathers spoke with us about the standard of policing he expects from his officers.

Police departments across the country are coping with a trend: more vacancies and understaffed departments at a time when the issue of policing maintains a firm grip on the national spotlight.

Lexington is no different, but Chief Lawrence Weathers says there’s a higher standard that he expects from his recruits.

“More important than ever that the people who do this job are chose carefully. We cannot, and we will not, reduce or cut corners to increase our staffing,” Chief Weathers said.

Rachel Kennedy is the recruiting coordinator for Lexington Police. She and her colleagues are in the process of training the latest class of recruits.

“This is a very important job and applying to do this job is something that people take very seriously,” Kennedy said. “Whether we’ve got 8 or 80, our training process is exactly the same, and our staff puts everything they have into preparing these people to go out and do the best possible job.”

Recruits undergo a 32-week training program that includes work in the classroom, work in the gym and work out on the streets before they become officers.

“Our recruiting slogan is ‘Set the Standard,’ and that applies to a lot of areas. It’s a very physically demanding academy process, but it’s also very academically demanding,” said Kennedy. “We have a high standard of excellence with physical fitness, with academic requirements, and, so, I think just the culture here is that everyone loves this job and believes in it.”

Kennedy says that kind of commitment and passion is what they look for in each recruit and, while she says interest in becoming a police officer is high, not all recruits can make the grade as the department looks to set the standard for what policing should look like.