COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As police departments across the country deal with officer shortages, a department from nearly two thousand miles away is coming to Columbus to recruit. The Phoenix Police Department (PPD) just announced this week it is recruiting in Ohio. PPD is holding written exams in Cleveland on November 6 and Columbus on November 7.

“We just want to be able to widen our applicant pool to try to find the most diverse, qualified applicant pool out there to join our organization,” said Sgt. Brad Rebic, who oversees hiring and recruitment for PPD. “Historically I’ve seen some people from the Ohio area come and join our ranks so I’m hoping to continue that trend.”

The post about the exams in Ohio highlights a $7,500 hiring bonus and the warmer weather in Arizona. PPD is short almost 350 officers, according to Sgt. Rebic. That’s down about 11 percent from what a budgeted full force is. Their recruitment efforts in Ohio come at a time when the Columbus Division of Police (CDP) is also facing an officer shortage.

“That’s a huge impact,” said Sgt. James Fuqua with CDP. “We absolutely need these bodies, and we need good people to step up and apply that we can recruit them.”

Numbers from CDP show the division is down 116 officers, about 6 percent from what a budgeted full force is. CDP has gone out of state for recruiting before and is having more recruiting periods to try to boost numbers, according to Sgt. Fuqua. He says Phoenix coming to Columbus is a challenge for local efforts but understands why it is happening.

“We welcome everybody to come in and have the opportunity to try and recruit whoever they want because quite frankly we are very confident we have a very competitive wage scale and benefits and the quality of life just living in central Ohio is amazing,” said. Sgt. Fuqua. “We’re not really concerned with any agency that comes in trying to recruit because if we are doing our job the way we are trained to do, we never have to worry about who’s coming from the outside.”