Columbus Police Department looking to fill shortage as chief prepares to retire

Updated: Oct. 27, 2020 at 7:13 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Some are saying their goodbyes as others are preparing to begin their journey at the Columbus Police Department.

After 50 years, the chief is retiring at the end of this week, but that does not mean he’s stopped recruiting.

Chief Ricky Boren said they need a dedicated person with a clean background who wants to help the citizens of Columbus.

“You know, I’m not really ready, but then again I am," Boren said of his retirement. "I’ve made up my mind, it’s time to go.”

A nationwide shortage of first responders has left the department consistently understaffed for more than a year. So, the department is working with Goodwill to host a major hiring event Nov. 5.

“We’re about 100 people short today," Boren said. “It’s going to be a one-stop shop. We’re hopefully going to have people who are interested and get most of what it takes done at that event.”

What does it take to be a Columbus police officer? Maj. J.D. Hawk said it’s more than just a clean background and dedication.

“Police officers are servants of the community, and if you’re not coming in to do that, you’re in the wrong profession,” Hawk said. "If you think you’re just going to come in here and lock people up, throw them in jail, and stuff like that and not care about the community, that’s not what we want.”

With Hawk, Boren, and a slew of other police department leaders retiring, here’s C Boren’s advice to the next person to step into his shoes.

“Be visible. Be attentive. Pay attention to what’s going on. It’s a great department," Boren said.

Who that next chief will b is still up in the air. It’s a mayoral appointment and Mayor Skip Henderson said we may be able to expect an announcement later this week anchor.

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