KENTWOOD, Mich. (WOOD) — Kentwood police are looking to the future.

The Kentwood Police Department held a recruiting event on Thursday night with officers meeting candidates hoping to wear the blue one day.

Kentwood police are looking to sponsor recruits at the Grand Valley State University Police Academy in May. After they successfully complete that program, they will join the police department.

The police department holds the recruiting session two times a year. Sgt. Tim Wierenga told News 8 that they’ve been talking to potential recruits throughout the summer.

West Michigan police academies have seen a drop-off in applications over the last few years, making it difficult for law enforcement to fill open positions. That’s forcing many police departments to compete for a limited number of potential cadets.

“The difference from when I first started, you’d get hundreds of applications for one or two positions,” Wierenga said. “They were selling themselves. Now we’re making sure we’re selling ourselves as well. We want to put our best foot forward and show them what we have to offer. It’s kind of switched roles.”

Wierenga said despite fewer available recruits than in years past, the police department will keep its standards high.

“We’re definitely not going to lower the bar,” Wierenga said. “We want to have good-qualified people to come and work for us. That’s why we’re trying to put everything out there on the table and see who we can find.”

Wierenga said the police departments wants “good moral, upstanding people.”

“We want people who do the right thing when nobody’s watching,” he said. “We want people that are willing to help people, that want to be a part of their community, that want to assist and that want to give back to their community.”

The application process is open until Nov. 24. Go to kentwood.us if you are interested in applying.