• Police departments desperate for more hires

    By: Joanna Small

    Updated:

    A Snohomish County city is down about 10 percent of its police force.  The Edmonds Police Department is looking for a few good men and women, as are departments across the state.

    And the competition to attract qualified candidates has become fierce.

    Twenty-three-year-old Jocelyn Giammalva has been dreaming of her police academy graduation day for about as long as she can remember.

    "Oh man, honestly I've been wanting to do law enforcement since about sixth grade,” she told us.

    So after Giammalva spent more than ten years of waiting and 18 weeks of work at the academy in Burien, her mother pinned on her badge at Wednesday’s graduation ceremony, and Jocelyn Giammalva is now Officer Jocelyn Giammalva.

    "I'm just really honored, very humbled and excited to get started,” she said of her new career.

    The Edmonds Police Department is just as excited. It's got nine positions to fill -- seven with the addition of Giammalva and her classmate, but the two are months away from being on the road on their own.

    "For a department of 58 people, 58 commissioned officers, having nine spots unfilled is a big hit,” explained Edmonds police Sgt. Josh McClure.

    McClure says qualified candidates are harder than ever to find so he's doubling up on interviews, doing 32 in two days.

    "And I already have the next steps of the process planned out, the next three steps,” he continued.

    Recruitment struggles are a statewide issue, so departments are coming up with new strategies to attract candidates.  The State Patrol ran commercials a few years ago; Everett police are offering thousands in bonuses for transfers from other departments.

    The Snohomish County Sheriff's Office secured the funding to hire 50 more deputies by the end of the year; Wednesday, just one graduated from the academy.

    "We really just put the focus on the candidate and say where would you like to work?  And we'll let one agency take over that opportunity,” McClure said.

    Edmonds was Giammalva's first choice -- she sped through the hiring process and even canceled another interview.

    "Typically it can take up to six months or a year, and I think it was two, two and a half months for me,” she humbly admitted.

    Every department hopes that the next Giammalva will choose them.

     


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