The Bowling Green Police Department hires more officers than it has in the last ten years.
Officials said more than 200 people applied and 11 were hired. The increase in interest to become a Bowling Green Police Officer may be due to the department's recently relaxed job requirements.
"... Don't plan on going anywhere. I love it here," said Cadet Jonathan Vickous, a Bowling Green Police new hire. Cadet Vickous was born and raised in Bowling Green, Ky.
Cadet Vickous found out last week that he's one of Bowling Green's newest police officers.
"I thought about it off and on growing up," Vickous said.
Cadet Vickous is a student at Western Kentucky University and has participated in the cadet program for about two years.
"We are integrated into the police department, we get to learn certain people that are here. We take certain reports, theft reports, criminal mischief - things along those lines," Vickous said.
Cadet Vickous hasn't graduated from WKU yet but is able to go ahead and start his career as a police officer because of requirement changes for applicants.
To be a Bowling Green Police officer you no longer need a college education or military experience. Applicants are only required to be 21-years-old and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Cadet Vickous turned 21 in February 2007, just in time to apply.
"These are certainly advantages in the hiring process. It's not a requirement, but in any competitive process when you come to the table with a college education or military experience, certainly that puts you at an advantage," said Chief Doug Hawkins, with Bowling Green Police.
"It creates a bigger pool of people to see who will be best fit for an officer, because not everyone best for this job necessarily needs a college education," Vickous said.
Chief Hawkins said the majority of his employees agree that education isn't everything in the police business. Hawkins does believe character is key.
"You need truthfulness; you need honesty; you need integrity; you need qualities that quite honestly you can't train into somebody. They have to bring those qualities with them. I can train them how to be a police officer," Hawkins explained.
Though a college degree isn't required to be a police officer, Cadet Vickous believes it will definitely help him out. He said the hiring process has been long and he's ready to fulfill his dream.
"I think it's the best decision I've made so far," Vickous said.
Chief Hawkins said he doesn't know how many of the new officers have a college education or military experience. He said an assessment of the new hire's experience will be done at a later date.
The 11 new officers begin training June 11. Their starting salary will be a little more than $31,000-a-year.