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Chandler to lose nearly two dozen police officers

PHOENIX — The Chandler Police Department is preparing to lose 23 officers within months of each other, amounting to 7 percent of the force.

Police Chief Sean Duggan said the officers are all supervisors who will be retiring in early 2016.

Since it takes about one year to recruit, test and train an officer, Duggan wants to start the hiring process soon, so he can maintain his level of 320 officers.

“It’s going to cost more money on the front end, but the idea is to be prepared so that we’re not left with a gap in services,” Duggan said.

Duggan hopes to convince city leaders to approve a temporary budget boost to cover the crossover between training and retirement. If approved, it would be part of the 2014-15 budge,t which is about 18 months before the retirements will kick in.

“There’s a small pool of candidates out there and we’ll be competing with every other agency for that small pool of qualified candidates,” he said. “Valley-wide, we may get thousands of applications, but only a fraction of a percent are really qualified to be police officers.”