The Buffalo Police Department is seeking a few more good men and women.
But the search for new police recruits has an added twist: the recruits need to be better educated.
Subject to the approval of U.S. District Court, new police appointees must have completed at least 60 credit hours (two years) of college, unless they have received an honorable discharge following two years of active military service or six years of reserve duty.
"One of the foundations of community policing is hiring officers with communication skills and team-building skills and the ability to handle crime-analysis information," Police Commissioner Rocco J. Diina said Thursday. "Therefore, we need to upgrade the educational level of all of our officers."
Currently, 375 of the department's 930 sworn officers have at least two years of college, according to department spokesman Lt. Duane Rizzo.
"Police work has become so much more technical and demanding," Rizzo said. "When I do career days, I tell students interested in police work that the most important subjects they can do well in are English and computer science."
Applications will be accepted through Oct. 30 for the Jan. 9 police exam, the first such exam since 1995.
To be appointed to the force, applicants have to score well on the exam and pass an extensive background check, a physical fitness exam and a polygraph test. They also have to have good credit, a driver's license and no felony convictions.
People with addresses in the city will be given preference. The city normally hires between 50 and 100 police recruits each year. The starting base pay of $34,057 rises to $46,045 after four years on the force.
"We're looking for highly qualified, motivated candidates who are willing to complete a strenuous academy, pass our extensive background investigation and help contribute to the betterment of the city," Rizzo said.
Applications may be picked up at the Buffalo Municipal Civil Service Commission in City Hall or at any police station. Tutoring classes will be offered in November and December for anyone interested.