A strong pension, a signing bonus and a noble cause are just part of the pitch the San Antonio Police Department is using to recruit new officers. They've also shortened the training course for many recruits.
Lt. Steven Trujillo, director of recruiting and development at the department, said that the modified training academy is intended to put officers on the street faster. He said they do that, by offering a shorter training course: sixteen weeks instead of 32 weeks for officers coming in from other cities.
"We're going to Corpus Christi, Austin, El Paso, and now, Dallas," Lt. Trujillo said.
In Dallas, Giant SAPD billboards promise a strong pension. Meanwhile, a pension crisis at Dallas PD is causing many veteran police officers to call it quits. Last year, the department lost almost 400 officers. They're still facing a staffing shortage, and department officials said that recovering from that shortage could take years.
In San Antonio, the authorized number of officers is 2,392. There are currently 148 open spots. Sixty cadets are in the academy and 28 probationary officers on their promotional training period. The department anticipates that all positions will be filled by the end of the year.
Another incentive bringing officers to San Antonio is a hefty pay bonus.
"We're offering a $7,500 hiring bonus," Lt. Trujillo noted.
SAPD officers typically start at a salary of about $42,732. Add that modified training academy bonus and officers are looking at $50,232.
Dallas officers start at $46,870. They currently aren't offering a modified training academy.
Over in Austin, an officer can make up to $58,681 after graduating from their modified training academy.
But before all of that, potential officers have to beat out the time on an obstacle course and take a computerized three-hour exam.
The department is doing it all for the purpose of getting officers on the streets quicker to better serve San Antonio.