The Goldsboro Police Department remains 16 officers shy of a full staff, but hopes to get that number below 10 by the end of the year.

Goldsboro Police Chief said that number is down from 22 officers short several months ago.

West said there are two people currently going through Basic Law Enforcement Training school that are "pre-hires."

"That means we hire them at the front end and they go through BLET, and if everything goes well we will hire them in August," West said.

Another person is in the background check phase of the application process, but is already BLET certified.

West said the department hopes to hire that person in about a month.

Additionally, the department is no longer losing officers at the rate it once was, which West attributes to several changes implemented by the Goldsboro City Council that have boosted morale and given officers incentives to stick around.

Among those incentives are things such as countywide take-home vehicles, which means officers can take their patrol cars home no matter where they live in the county.

There are also educational incentives -- if an officer gets an associate's degree while they are with the department, they receive a 2.5 percent pay increase, West said. Increase that to a bachelor's degree in criminal justice, and the officer receives a 5 percent pay increase, West said.

And if someone already has either of those degrees, West said, the officer receives the associated pay increase up front when they are hired.

West said the council also approved pay for experience. If someone already has experience with another police department, or has served in the military, then they, too, receive a pay increase right at the start.

"If you come to me and you've got four years experience in another agency, or you've got four years experience in the military, you'll get a percentage increase at the beginning, also, so you don't come in at the ground level," West said.

The department currently staffs 94 officers out of a full capacity of 110.

This means 14 percent of the department's positions remain vacant.

According to data provided by the police department, 11 percent of officers on staff have more than 20 years of experience; 29 percent have more than 10 years, but less than 20 years experience; 20 percent of the staff have more than 5 but less than 10 years of experience; and 26 percent of the department has less than five years experience.

That same data reveals that the department's patrol division had seven vacancies as of Feb. 15 ---- the most recent data available.

But, several new officers have been sworn in at the department since then.

One of them, 21-year-old Yonny Campos, is assigned to D Shift of the patrol division.

Campos graduated BLET in December 2016, and was sworn into his position in mid-February.

"The main reason (I joined) was because I wanted to be able to serve my community and serve my people," Campos said. "It's about being part of something bigger than myself."

Campos said he decided to become a law enforcement officer after a man with a knife broke into his childhood home when he was about 9 years old.

Campos said the deputy who responded to the scene that night inspired him to join the same profession when he grew up because of how he handled the situation.

Campos' first shift was a weekend shift from Feb. 17 to 19, during which plenty of incidents happened that allowed Campos to get a lot of experience fast, said D Shift Capt. LeAnn Rabun.

"It's amazing," Campos said. "I like it. I get to see different parts of the city and serve my community at the same time."