Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott has established a scholarship program designed to give eligible residents the opportunity to become a Hammond police officer more quickly. Academy Bound will allow applicants the chance to attend the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy for free.
To be eligible for the program, applicants between the ages of 21 and 25 must show proof of residency in Hammond for at least three years. The city says the applicants will be evaluated the same as those not participating in the program to ensure they pass the academy. After graduating the academy and being hired by the police department, they will be required to remain Hammond residents for three years.
McDermott says the program aims to bring in qualified people to the police department who may be unable to pay the $4,500 fee to attend the academy.
"Police departments across the nation are struggling to fill its ranks with qualified applicants," said Hammond Police Chief John Doughty. "It has especially been difficult to improve diversity under standard test and hire protocols. We want our police department to reflect the cultural diversity of our City. We need to offer our citizens a first chance opportunity to work here with us."
The program will begin with the January 2018 NILEA class, applications for which will be accepted between July 31 and August 11.