ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Nearly every industry and profession is looking for new talent, and it is no different for the Rockford Police Department.

The Rockford Police Department is hiring experienced officers to be the future leaders of the department.

“For the laterals, the experienced police officers, it’s huge for us right now just like everybody across the nation, especially in the State of Illinois,” said Katy Statler, recruiting officer for the Rockford Police Department. “We’re all struggling to get police officers.”

Statler said that while Rockford has a high crime rate, it is the community that keeps many of them going.

“It’s not the crime that is kind of steering people away, it’s what we do as a profession and how much the community backs you,” Statler said.

The department is looking for officers who are in a smaller department, looking for a new opportunity, or someone wanting to make a lateral move to Rockford.

“This is a career, this is a place where you come to a department and you want to stay. That’s what Rockford presents for the incoming officers, either being lateral or entry level. It’s not just taking a test where we hand you a badge and gun, there’s a lot to it and it’s a very long process. And, so, our lateral, we shorten that because of the fact that they already done that through their current department, so we try to make it a little easier,” Statler said. “Cut out some of the written exams and the testing process so it’s smoother for them. They earned that, they already earned state certificate, they already earn the right and respect for the current department they are working for.”

Getting an experience officer means that there are more eyes out on the city more quickly, according to Statler.

“Almost a full year for entry level to get on the street on their own, and we can do that in 3 months or less with an experienced police officer, so it helps the community out right away,” she said.

Statler believes that aspiring officers should know the risks associated with policing in Rockford as the department continues to grow relationships with the community.

“Do a ride along with us,” Statler said. “I’ll put you with a senior officer so you kind of get the nitty gritty. How it’s ran and what they think of our staff, civilian and sworn, because you won’t know until you actually get here.”

Applications for experience officers are open now until the end of the month. Rockford PD will take entry level applicants all of October.