Be A Cop. Write Your Own Ticket

With officers in short supply, recruiters hit the highway

On a recent Thursday morning, a troop of shorts-clad men were jogging around the track at Indiana University's campus in Indianapolis. Standing in uniform on the sidelines, police officer Jim Ritter barked some unusual words of encouragement at one of the stragglers. "Remember, $50,000 a year!" he shouted, clapping his hands. "That's the motivation. Keep it going!"

Ritter, 39, a recruiter for the Seattle police department, wasn't kidding. Faced with a diminishing pool of local applicants, he has spent the past year visiting a dozen cities in hopes of filling his agency's 70-plus annual openings. He is touting competitive salaries and...

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