Bridgeport Police Dept. to get 10 additional officers after graduation; chief says it’s not enough

Fifteen probationary officers have graduated from the regional Bridgeport Police Academy and are ready to serve their communities.
The officers will be heading to different departments in the state, but several of them will be joining Bridgeport Police Department, which has battled high vacancies in the department.
After eight months of training, 10 of the graduating officers will be joining Bridgeport Police Department. But Chief Rebecca Garcia says that there are still many more spots to be filled.
Garcia says they're looking to hire more than 100 additional people to bring their department up to speed.
The department lost 53 officers in 2021 because of retirement and officers who left for another police department for more competitive salaries and benefits.
Garcia says many police departments are battling similar issues when it comes to hiring right now.
"We have been looking at our numbers consistently. So obviously, we have to work with the numbers of recruitment personnel that we get and also those that get through our background process, which is very important. The vetting happens and then we have to put on classes as we can," said Garcia.
Garcia says within the last year they've hired 30-40 officers. She tells News 12 they're now speeding up the process at the police academy to get officers into the department quicker. Instead of eight months and eight hours each day, the program will take five months to complete with 10-hour days.