BAKERSFIELD - It's what some are calling a citywide officer shortage. Bakersfield Police say they don't know the last time they had a full compliment at the department.
The BPD said it's a combination of factors, including the economy, early retirement and the inability of recruits to get through training.
All Bakersfield police officers go through a military-style training, which includes ten-hour days for 22 weeks, set up to test your limits physically and mentally.
"We can't make this process easy," said Mason Woessner, training officer for the Bakersfield Police Department. "We have to make it as realistic as we possibly can to ensure that we produce the best officers we can for our department for the city."
Officers, the department desperately needs.
"It puts a strain on our department, especially our patrol division," said Mike Gerrity, a training officer for the Bakersfield Police Department.
Fully staffed, the BPD has 389 officers. Right now, they're down 44 positions.
"We have been down for several years so to say it's normal, I guess it's been the norm of late, but with the economy starting to come back we're trying to boost those numbers," said Woessner.
The boost will come from a group of recruits currently training, if they make it. On average, the BPD says 20 to 30 percent of recruits drop out.
"We see a lot of applicants, but we see a lot of unqualified applicants," said Gerrity.
"It is getting harder to find a well-rounded individual and a lot of that is generational," said Woessner.
In six weeks, the Bakersfield Police Department said one group went from 32 recruits to 22.
"To get through it you really need have that mental toughness because it is stressful and we do push you to your limits," said Woessner.
But, officers are hoping this group of recruits puts their baton to the dummy and graduates, so within a couple years the department is running at full speed, with a full compliment.
"It would be a happy day for us. It would be a busy day, but very happy," said Gerrity.
The BPD will start testing recruits in September with training starting in March.