Local News

Lateral-entry program filling Raleigh police ranks

Posted January 1, 2009 4:23 p.m. EST
Updated March 9, 2009 5:11 p.m. EDT

— Less than a year after seeing its ranks of officers dip to about 90, the Raleigh Police Department should be fully staffed by this summer, Police Chief Harry Dolan said.

The department has more than 70 vacancies, but about 50 recruits will start the police academy next month, Dolan said. He credited a new city program, called lateral entry, that pays new officers according to their past experience for helping fill the ranks.

"From (the New York Police Department) to different departments around North Carolina, we are getting officers that have experience," he said. "Much like if someone is an attorney or a professional from another community (and) if they go from one community to another, they are recognized for their professional experience."

About a third of the officers who recently graduated from Raleigh's police academy went through the lateral-entry program, he said.

Once all of the positions are filled, Dolan said, he plans to ask the City Council to fund more officers.

"Of course, we are going to start asking for more positions. That is going to be contingent upon the budget," he said.

Like other department head, he said, he worries about budget cuts, but he said he believes Raleigh is very committed to law enforcement and won't cut officers.