The California Highway Patrol plans to hire 1,000 new officers in the next few years to make up for a staggering number of vacancies that accumulated during the COVID-19 pandemic.

GOPUSA Editor’s Note: This was also the time of the Defund the Police movement.

The agency announced the hiring effort on Friday, calling it “Join the CHP 1,000.” It’s meant to “fill vacancies created due to attrition,” not to grow the overall number officers in the agency, CHP spokeswoman Jaime Coffee said.

“We are excited to welcome new members to the team so that the CHP can continue to provide the level of service the public has come to expect,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said.

The CHP employs about 11,000 people with some 7,000 sworn officers. Vacancies piled up during COVID-19 pandemic when the agency temporarily closed its training academy in West Sacramento, depriving the CHP of a class of rookie officers.

“While the academy was closed, attrition among uniformed employees continued, and we didn’t have the ability to backfill them,” Coffee told The Bee. “That’s why we have now launched a campaign with a goal of recruiting 1,000 new officers in the next two years.”

The CHP’s vacancies cannot only be attributed to stresses of the coronavirus pandemic. Before the virus hit the state, Coffee said, CHP had “several hundred vacant positions.” Coffee attributed those vacancies mostly to attrition, noting that CHP has historically had between 25 and 27 officers leave per month due to retirement, transfer and other causes.

The CHP earlier this year asked state lawmakers for help in recruiting more officers. It submitted a $2 million funding request seeking to support recruitment in the upcoming budget year. It noted the agency had around 13,000 applicants in each fiscal year since 2018, a steep drop from the 20,723 applicants in the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The new hiring campaign highlights pay and beneifts in drawing officers to the state law enforcement agency. New cadets earn $5,563 each month during their 26-week training, and then can expect to make more than $100,000 during their first year as an officer, according to the Friday news release.

Those applying to become cadets must be a United States citizen or a permanent resident who has applied for citizenship, be between the ages of 20 and 35, have a high school diploma or equivalent and hold no felony convictions.

Applicants must also pass a physical ability test and written exam, as well as a background check.

“If you are compassionate, driven to serve, and have a desire to learn, the CHP provides some of the best law enforcement training in the world and we will do all we can to ensure your success,” Ray added in the new release.

Those interested can apply at chpmadeformore.com.

©2022 The Sacramento Bee. Visit sacbee.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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