ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It's that time of the year again when the Rockford Police Department tries to hire more officers. But in the last couple of years it's been hard to find enough qualified candidates.
It's hard to pinpoint the problem but Rockford police say many of the new candidates don't even show up for their first exam. The first of six orientations was on Thursday night and 23 News Reporter Meghan Dwyer sat in to see just how hard it is to become an officer.
In 2011, 777 people applied to be a Rockford police officers but only 11 made the cut. It was even worse last year when 617 applied - and only five could be hired. Police say many candidates don't show up they fail the written exam..and sometimes they even fail the drug test. In 2013, the department wants to hire 15-25 new officers, but they don't know how many people will make it to the end.
Tonight about 27 people showed up to the orientation..only three women were there. The deadline for applications is January 12 and starting salary is about $45,000.
Right now there are 267 officers on the Rockford police force. They want to get back up to 285.