AUSTIN (KXAN) - As Austin continues to grow, the Austin Police Department is trying to keep up the pace as well.
While APD currently has close to 1,700 sworn officers, Chief Art Acevedo would like to hire more than 400 officers by 2017 to get to the national average of 2.4 officers per thousand residents, by then, Austin's population is expected to reach one million.
To reach those lofty goals, APD recruiters are casting a wide net across the country.
Last week, Austin recruiters were in San Jose and Sacramento, California seeking qualified men and women to the join the force.
"Our main objective was to go to Sacramento for a job fair, but since we were already in the area, we reached out to San Jose to see if they could accommodate us," said Lt. Jerry Gonzalez, recruiter with Austin police.
Since it wasn't on the main itinerary, APD placed a last-minute ad in the local newspaper in San Jose to get the information out.
Around two dozen people showed up seeking more information about the agency and what APD has to offer in terms of pensions and pay. Some of the officers they saw were 10-year veterans of the San Jose police force.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, officers have balked at pay and benefit cuts brought on by the soaring cost of their city retirement pensions.
Lt. Gonzalez said one of their newest recruits actually left San Jose for Austin in January. That officer is currently going through the modified training KXAN News told you about last week.
In an editorial on protectsanjose.com , the Vice President of the San Jose Police Officers' Association , Sgt. John Robb said over the last two years, San Jose police is averaging "a stunning 70 resignations per year" instead of the four officers per year up until 2010.
Robb goes on to say that the resignations are costing the City millions. "Recently, taxpaying San Jose residents lost over $24 million due to officers resigning from SJPD and taking their San Jose taxpayer financed training with them to work for other departments."
San Jose has approximately 1,000 officers for 1 million people. Austin has around 1,700 officers for 700,000 residents.
Lt. Gonzalez said Austin is enticing to outsiders because of the full package. When you add up salary, pension, and benefits, APD is one of the highest paying agencies in the country .
A cadet starting salary with APD is $2,667 per month for 8 months.
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