The Racine Police Department will swear in seven new officers Monday, bringing the force's complement to 200. Briefly.
The seven -- six men and one woman -- range in age from 23 to 39. All have passed their psychological and physical tests, and been interviewed by Chief Kurt Wahlen. They will be sworn in by the City Clerk at 2 p.m. Monday in the Police Department auditorium.
Just don't expect to see them patrolling Racine's mean streets any time soon. After a week here tending to administrative and human resource issues, being issued firearms, and getting fitted for uniforms, all seven will head to Northeast Technical College in Green Bay for 520 hours -- 13 weeks -- of recruit school training, followed by two more weeks of localized training here.
To become a police officer in Wisconsin, applicants must have completed at least 60 college credits. Although districts sometimes waive this requirement, Racine does not, according to departmental spokesman Sgt. Bernie Kupper. "They may have an associate's or bachelor's degree in anything under the sun," he said. As to their weapons experience, "they may never have hunted, handled a firearm or ridden in a squad car."
Officers earn $60,000 after two years. New recruits are paid 80% of that.
Today, the department has 193 officers, compared to its budgeted complement of 199. But this brief moment of being full-staffed won't last long: the department has one retirement scheduled for May 30, and two or three more during the latter part of June and July, according to Sgt. Kupper.