No need for a diploma to get a badge.

WTSP reports.

Sarasota police no longer require college degree

Sarasota, Florida-The Sarasota Police Department is running low on police officers there are 12 vacancies and more are expected due mostly to retirements.

“Over the next 4 years we’ll lose 38 officers,” says Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino. She says a two year college degree as a requirement made recruiting difficult but not anymore a high school or GED is now enough along with standard police training.

DiPino says, “I think it discounted a number of individuals that had good qualities qualifications to be a police officer that’s what we’re hoping this will do open the pool of candidates.”

A more diverse group of police officers to include women, Hispanics and African-Americans.

“Diversity is important to our agency because we want it to reflect the community where we are policing,” says DiPino.

“We need to see more diversity in Sarasota.” Especially in its police department says Newtown Community leader Jetson Grimes.

“It’s important we see people that represent us in a position of authority that’s important,” said Grimes.

“If you have individuals look the same way you do on the police force people are more likely to be trusting, it reduces biases, builds up relationships,” adds DiPino.