GREEN BAY (NBC 26) — The City of Green Bay is budgeted for 187 police officers.
Right now, the Green Bay Police Department is just two officers short of being fully staffed. Recently, the police department swore in seven new officers.
Fox Cities native Grace Bessey is one of them.
"My family used to work at the Brown County Sheriff's Department," Bessey said.
Policing is in Bessey's blood. She says her job at the Green Bay Police Department is her first-ever in law enforcement.
"It's a dream come true, honestly," Bessey said.
"Did you apply to other departments?," reporter Tyler Job asked.
"I did not, no," Bessey said.
"Just this one?," Job asked.
"Just Green Bay," Bessey responded.
She says her co-workers are already taking her under their wings.
"They take a lot of time to train their officers," Bessey said. "Right now, I'm doing a mini-academy with them, and they are going to make sure that I am the most prepared that I can be to be out on the road and the safest officer that I can be."
"When we hire somebody, it's about 18 months before they actually become a fully-deployable police officer that we send out on their own," Police Chief Chris Davis said.
This is why even though the police department is very close to having a full staff of officers, Davis says they are always looking to recruit. This year, he is expecting six people to retire.
"If I could hire those six people now, then by the end of the year, they would be much closer to being fully deployable, and we wouldn't feel that loss of those people that we will if we wait until the day that person retires to hire their replacement," Davis said.
Davis says the community offers large public support for police that you might not see in other cities, which he thinks helps draw in applicants.
"Yes, we want it done the right way, and we believe in accountability and very high standards," Davis said. "But we're going to support you in meeting those high standards."
In her experience, Bessey says she's feeling that support and is appreciative of the chief knowing her by name.
"There's a lot of us, so it's kind of hard to keep us all straight," Bessey said. "But I really do appreciate him, and he seems to support us 100 percent in everything that we do."
The position of a Green Bay patrol officer pays between $29.86 to $36.74 an hour.