Police departments all across the country have been heavily recruiting and meeting some difficulty. Outside of traditional recruitment techniques, the Auburn Police Department is getting creative and bold.
The department of about 67 members is down nine mostly due to retirement.
"We have upwards of 12 additional officers that can retire. It's going to be an on-going plight to try and get back to our number," said Auburn Police Chief Shawn Butler.
On top of that, the civil service entry exam passed and the department has already gone through its list applicants.
"That's odd. To go through a list of 130 applicants in a little over a year is something that's very challenging for us," said Butler.
"We thought about where is the most viable candidates. Onondaga County has towns, villages, cities, the Sheriff's Department. Maybe there are some officers there that are looking for a slower pace or smaller agency. We figured, ‘How do we get the word out?"
Their choice: a billboard.
They are targeting laterals, officers already trained from other departments.
"We're all going through the same plight of trying to retain, sustain and recruit candidates. I let them know that we're trying to figure out how to recruit, because we're in a bit of a crisis," said Butler.
Over the years, recruitment has declined for a number of reasons.
"You see the bad every single night of what police deal with and what they face and the public scrutiny. I think this generation is deciding, ‘Why do I want to take that on?'" said Butler.
In Auburn, they've added psychological and polygraph tests.
"That's kind of filtering out some less desirable candidates as well," said Butler.
But the search doesn't stop, mustering up the best for a resurging and vibrant area.
Butler said prior to putting up the billboards, he did reach out to other agencies to give them a heads up about his recruitment efforts. The only agencies the Auburn PD cannot take recruits from are the NYPD and New York State Police.