The Meriden Police Department is hiring.
On Wednesday, the department launched its annual officer recruitment campaign in an effort to build up the city's police ranks which included the installation of a large banner just outside police headquarters on East Main Street.
"To be a police officer, it takes quite a bit of dedication," said Captain Michael Zakrzewski, who expects to receive several hundred applications by the end September.
"We want people that are honest, that have integrity, they have a good work ethic and most of all they're committed, they're committed to residents," said Zakrzewski. "They have to have a desire to serve the public."
Applications can be found online at www.policeapp.com
At full strength, the police department employs 120 full-time officers who serve in various roles. But recent retirements, according to Zakrzewski, have left the force short of that number.
Last October, the city received . Zakrezewski said the grant requires the department to remain at full strength.
The hiring process can take up to a year as applicants are required to pass written tests, physical assesments, psychological tests, 24 weeks in the police academy as well as additional field training.
"It's a difficult process with a lot involved. It's a huge process," said Zakrzewski, who compared applying to become a police officer with joining the military.
But the benefits of working for a department like Meriden, he said, make the process worth the sacrifice.
"It's not just a job, it's a career," said Zakrzewski."I like to think we can provide a lot of different opportunities to the officers."
Those opportunities include working in the department's Neighborhood Initiative Unit, Detective Division, or as a member of a DEA Task Force, statewide Auto Theft or Narcotics Units, Swat Team or bicycle team.
"We want to hire only the best candidates," he said.