KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Knoxville Police Department is looking for dozens of people to join their law enforcement team. KPD has three categories of positions they’re seeking to fill, police cadets, police recruits, and lateral police positions.

Sergeant Sam Henard, KPD’s personnel director, said they’re hoping for a wide range of people to apply. “What we are trying to do is match our police department with our community. So, diversity is key,” Henard said.

Henard said they have about 40 open positions and that anyone applying for the police cadet position should be between the ages of 18 and 21. He said it’s more of a mentorship program, “Get them in here at a young age, mentor and help guide and train them to go to the next step, which is the police recruit.”

He said it’s a full-time position that gets paid a starting salary of $25,501. He said KPD works with the cadets if they’re still interested in continuing their education. They can even provide up to $3,000 a year for tuition reimbursement. After completing a month-long Cadet training academy, cadets are put on non-enforcement activities while receiving law enforcement training.

“Their duties are parking enforcement, they assist with special events, downtown walking patrols,” Henard said.

Police recruits are a step above cadets and must be 21 years or older to apply. If accepted, they would go straight into the Knoxville Police Academy. “We’re going to put you in the police academy, you’ll attend the full academy, you’ll go through the field training program and you will become a Knoxville Police Officer,” Henard said.

Recruits would get paid a starting salary of $36,593 while in the academy, and then $40k once officially on the force. A lateral transfer is someone already P.O.S.T. (Peace Officer Standards & Training) certified. It’s someone possibly coming from another law enforcement agency anywhere in the country.

“We’ve hired folks from Los Angles Police Department, New York City, Chicago. They’re coming to Knoxville because Knoxville is a great place to live, it’s a great place to work,” Henard said.

Henard knows officers across the country are having a hard time. He said that’s one reason why they should join KPD, “The police department and the community work well together, and officers from around the country who may not see that within their own communities, see it here and that’s why they’re coming.

Throughout the month of October, you might see a special recruitment patrol car riding around in different communities. Henard said it’s an eye-catching vehicle, and they hope, it grabs the right attention from possible future officers, along with the current officers who are driving it out in the neighborhoods.

“Our officers, who work for these diverse communities within the city, are our best recruiters. They’re getting out there and explaining what the police department does, our benefits, everything that we can to them to help them understand how it works,” Henard said.

Henard said once someone applies for any of the positions KPD is looking to fill, it could take about five or six months before a candidate gets to work, “The time you apply to the time you take your test, to your interview process, then you’ll go through the background investigation, the polygraph, the medical.”

But, they are in serious need of more officers, and he said Knoxville is a great community to work for. “We have to keep our community safe. We have to protect Knoxville, and these officers at the Knoxville Police Department are on the front line and we have to fill these spots and get everybody taken care of,” Henard said.

You can always call and ask KPD more about what they do and the open positions. If you’re looking for more information or want to apply, head over to Applications will be open through Oct. 29.