Police departments are changing the way they recruit to get more candidates

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) -- Police departments across the country have been dealing with recruitment issues for years. On Thursday the Wausau Police Department is increasing their force with two new officers.

Swearing in of two new Wausau Police officers on October 10, 2019. (WSAW-TV)

"Since 2015 we have hired about 40 new officers and we only have 78 so that is like half our department," explained Chief Ben Bliven, of the Wausau Police Department.

It's not just Wausau in just the last couple weeks; Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point and the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office have all announced new hires on Facebook.

Chief Bliven says it can be tough to find the right people. "We're looking for a very particular type of people and we had three openings but only hired two people because we couldn't find that person to fit that mold," said Chief Bliven.

In Wausau applicants aren't always easy to find. "I wouldn't say we've got more applicants. We have hit a plateau about 30-40 for our hiring process. We have been very fortunate to have some good people apply."

So Wausau had to change tactics to get its message out. "We use social media a lot. We have a recruit video and we just released another about a month ago.The videos aren't talking about recruitment, they are just saying here's who we are."

The recruiting is working. "To me Wausau is the top department in community policing. They get the community involved in everything from social media to just walks around town," said new Officer Michael Grund, Wausau Police.

Two new officers sworn in on Thursday say they were drawn to Wausau because of its reputation. "Wausau was a long process. Talking to other people in the academy, my process at Wausau was a lot longer then their's which I think is a good thing," said new Officer John Shear, Wausau Police.

Chief Bliven adds they are always taking applications and says if someone is interested they should reach out and go for a ride along.