Amarillo Police Department Struggles to Find Quality Recruits

Jan 29, 2016

Applicant Joshua Poynor climbs a stair case Saturday, November 14, 2015 during a physical agility test at the Amarillo Police Department obstacle course.
Credit Sean Steffen /

The number of qualified applicants at the Amarillo Police Department is dwindling each year, reports Changing societal attitudes toward marijuana and public furor over police-involved shootings are making it harder for APD to attract younger officers.

APD receives hundreds of applications for its academies, but interest in
becoming a police officer is not enough. “It’s very difficult to find people that can make it through the hiring process,” said Sgt. Brent Barbee, adding: “We develop problems in the background investigations most commonly.”

In the most recent police academy class 273 applications were received. Of those, only 12 made it to police academy graduation. The largest drops in candidates occur in the background investigation, a polygraph examination, an oral interview board and a medical and psychological examination.

The starting salary for an Amarillo police officer is almost $50,000.