New officers sworn in as Mason City Police Department continues to address shortage of officers
(Photo submitted by Mayor Bill Schickel)
MASON CITY — Three new police officers were sworn in earlier this week as the Mason City Police Department continues to address a certified officer shortage. The department ramped up its recruitment efforts back in July as the force was down 11 budgeted officers and the City Council approved wage changes as well as incentives to help solve the shortage issue.
Mayor Bill Schickel says he was happy to swear in the new officers at a ceremony earlier this week. “Jim Rederker, Lucas Akemann, and Aaron Presholt. That’s three there. We’ve also hired Brandon VanHorn, he’s currently with the United States Army, and when he gets discharged later this spring, he’ll be able to join the force as well. These are just such great, young, enthusiastic officers. It’s just an honor to be able to welcome them aboard.”
Schickel says the recruitment efforts by the police department are paying off. “We’ve hired eight new officers in the last two months. That’s unheard of, especially with the difficulty in recruiting and the competition for these kinds of jobs. We’re very excited. Our authorized strength of police officers is 48, our goal is to get back up to that full strength this year, and with these eight new hires, that gets us within five of doing that, and we plan to do some additional job posting and hire those additional five officers in the future.”
Among the incentives approved by the council last July were a $5000 signing bonus to any certified officer hired, $3000 toward closing costs of the purchase of a home in Mason City by new certified officers, and $6000 toward relocation expenses such as moving costs, temporary housing, and temporary insurance costs.