Ohio police department gets rid of maximum age requirement to recruit officers

In Ohio, the maximum age limit for a certified officer is 35 years; the city of Springfield hopes that removing the maximum age cap will help fill vacancies

By Sarah Roebuck

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — In an effort to recruit new police officers, the Springfield city commission eliminated the maximum age restriction for new officers, the Springfield News-Sun reports.

According to the laws of Ohio, the maximum age limit to qualify as a certified police officer is 35 years. However, municipalities have the ability to change this rule. With the approval of the commission, Springfield removed the age restriction.

City manager Bryan Heck informed the commissioners about the existing vacancies in the city that Springfield, like many other communities nationwide, finds challenging to fill.

“We feel like we are missing out on a lot of opportunities,” Heck told the Springfield News-Sun. “To receive full retirement benefits from the military now you have to stay active for 20 years. Let’s say someone enlisted at 18. At full retirement, they would be 38 years old. According to the state max, you would not be eligible to become a police officer for the first time. So this allows additional opportunities for members of our community who want to serve and make a great impact.”

The department currently has five generations working, Police Chief Allison Elliott said.

“Over time we have seen a shift in how generations see the workforce, and we believe we can offer an opportunity to those who have entered the workforce and changed jobs or careers a couple of times,” she said. “They can bring that life experience, that work experience and a different level of maturity, perspective and diversity of thought” to enhance police efforts.

The Springfield Police Division consists of 111 sworn police officers, though it is deemed fully staffed with 130 officers. According to Elliott, the objective is to fill the 19 positions that are currently unoccupied.

Sheriff Deb Burchett stated that the Clark County Sheriff's Office does not impose a maximum age limit for applicants: “If they can do the job, they can be hired,” Burchett told the Springfield News-Sun. The sheriff's office can hire people as young as 18 as a corrections officer and deputies must be 21 or older. 

Assistant Mayor Rob Rue noted that members of the police force have been utilizing social media to publicize job opportunities within the police division.

“I’ve seen officers repost the job listing and talk about how much they enjoy working for the city. Congratulations to the leadership, because when you get your own staff trumpeting, ‘Come work with us,’ that’s really great," Rue told the Springfield News-Sun.

Although the maximum age requirement has been eliminated, the minimum age to apply is still 20 and a half and to become a certified police officer you must be 21. 

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