AKRON, Ohio (WJW) – Short of its budgeted staff of 470 police officers, Akron is now taking applications for new recruits.

The city is hoping to hire as many as 35 new officers, offering to administer a civil service exam in mid-March.

“We are in the same position as many other cities our size or even bigger. You know, I talk to my colleagues across the state in Columbus and Cleveland and Youngstown and like-sized cities and we are all facing, trying to add to those numbers to keep full staffing as much as possible,” said Akron Mayor Daniel Horrigan.

For the first time, the city is offering new recruits a $2,000 signing bonus. The maximum age requirement has been extended from 40 to 45 and officers who transfer from other departments can make a lateral move, keeping their seniority.

The city is also offering starting wages and benefits that are competitive with other similar cities across Ohio.

“It’s pretty competitive and so we see our officers being recruited by other cities. We do the same thing and it’s kind of a friendly, you know, when we see each other at tables, but I think that makes us better too because if another community is doing something that we think would work in Akron, we are a great thief of good ideas,” said Horrigan.

The recruiting effort comes after a year when the department has been under tremendous scrutiny from the community following the shooting death of Jayland Walker.

Demonstrators demanding accountability even marched to the mayor’s home.

The city is adopting a new civilian oversight committee to review police officers actions and discipline.

“This is a good police department and they work very, very hard at maintaining their professionalism our academy is an award-winning police academy, our ongoing training,” Police Chief Steve Mylett said during a discussion about the oversight committed in September.

Horrigan says the right candidates will need to have a passion to serve the city of Akron, as a whole will represent the diversity of the city and need to be willing to help build and maintain trust between the community and the department.

“The community very much deserves us to be above board and so we hold ourselves as a law enforcement profession across the country at a high standard, so we are looking for people with high integrity, very honest, dependable people,” said Akron Police Lieutenant Michael Miller, telling FOX 8 that his decision to become an Akron police officer was “life changing.”

“You have got to earn people’s trust, just like I think I do. Just like I think everybody in public service does and that goes by how accountable you are and what you are doing out there in the community to be able to do that,” said Horrigan.