FLUSHING — The NYPD is streamlining its hiring process for new police officers in an effort to be more "welcoming" towards new recruits, Commissioner Bill Bratton announced at the swearing-in of the latest class of officers.
In a new system that will begin after the current class, the NYPD will offer one test per year and hire from that test — as opposed to the average three to four years the incoming class of 1,217 officers had to wait between taking their exam and entering the academy, he said.
During the application process, half of the applicants traditionally drop out, Bratton said.
"We're focused on welcoming you into the NYPD in a respectful way, in a way in which the value that we place in you is reflected in how we receive you — as an applicant and certainly now as a recruit," he told the new trainees at their swearing-in Wednesday at Queens College.
The new recruits are the first to enter the College Point police academy since the City Council and Mayor Bill de Blasio approved funding for 1,300 more officers in the latest budget.
The additional money for officers also allowed Bratton to end a longstanding process of using "standby" recruits.
Under the current system, the NYPD allows a collection of would-be NYPD officers to enroll in the academy and participate in training without knowing if they will be allowed to be enrolled in the next round of recruits.
The standbys — many of whom continue to juggle full time jobs — are kept on retainer in case of drop-outs in the police academy class, officials said.
But this year, the dozens of standby recruits were given a pleasant surprise from Bratton who notified them at Wendesday's swearing-in ceremony that they, too, would take the oath and enter the academy, which graduates in December.
"That to me sounds like a crazy system," Bratton said about the standby recruits who he called "fill-ins."
"It's not fair to them, it's not fair to employers."
The 1,217 new officers will be the second class with revamped training and features more minority recruits than ever before, Bratton said.
We have made a significant investment in you and you are making a significant investment in us," he told the academy's latest class.