(News-Leader) – Over the last year, the Springfield Police Department has struggled with recruiting and keeping new officers, entering 2022 still 55 officers short of being fully staffed.  

However, Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams told the City Council on Monday night that he is optimistic the department has “crested the hill” and will get back to a better staffing situation by next year — starting with an academy class of 26 new recruits set to begin in the next couple weeks.  

“I’m an optimist anyway when it comes to this,” Williams said. “But I think… we have crested. We’re going to weather the storm certainly throughout the rest of 2021, and then I think things are going to start going in the right direction and trending the right way and we’ll get back to staffing levels where they should be.” 

Williams added that increasing pay and benefits, as well as changing some of the requirements to get into the academy, have contributed to the increase in applicants and the size of the academy classes.  

“Recruiting is up, that’s the good news,” Williams said. “The increase in recruits and the increase in applicants came about just based on our earlier strategies of changing pay, changing benefits and changing some of our entrance requirements.”  

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