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Valdosta Police use new methods for recruitment

Posted at 9:27 PM, Jul 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-19 21:27:06-04

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WTXL) — Police vehicles usually have the same look, but now Valdosta Police has a new vehicle that will help them recruit younger officers to the force.

Chad Teeter is the store manager of Ashley Furniture in Valdosta. They just opened 8 months ago and in the beginning they had some issues where they had to call police to help them.

"We want our employees and our customers to feel safe here so anytime there's ever been a problem, you know any issues that might have came up, the local police came out and handled it fairly quickly," said Teeter.

He says some of those issues came from the fact that the building was vacant for so long.

"Being a new business in the neighborhood, it's important to us. It's important to know that we can have someone to call and rely on in a time of need," said Teeter.

While Valdosta Police Chief Leslie Manahan couldn't share the exact amount of vacancies, she says a good average for them now is about five officers per recruit class.

"We just swore in 5 new officers Monday of this week, currently we have four in the academy, and we've got a handful of people getting ready to go to the September academy so we like to have four to five recruits each police academy," said Chief Manahan.

That's why they're enlisting the help of two recruitment mobiles, which has a QR code on the back that links right to their application.

"The biggest thing is everything has gone to technology and social media, and we're trying to make it easier and more appealing for younger people to apply to the job," she explained.

Chief Manahan says while they do struggle to get higher recruitment numbers, it's not slowing them down.

"We're facing the dilemma that is nation wide for law enforcement and first responders, it's trying to find people who want to come out and do the job. So our goal is to get as many people on, get them to enjoy the job and realize a career I've had for 26 years how incredible the career is," Chief Manahan said.

The minimum salary for the Valdosta Police Department is about $47,600 with incentives for military and schooling. Anyone who's interested can apply through the city of Valdosta website.