Salina Police Chief Brad Nelson hopes a new high school public safety pathway being implemented by the Salina School District and Salina Area Technical College will help remedy a shortage of officers in his department.

Beginning in the fall of 2018, juniors at Salina Central and Salina South high schools will be able to enroll in a series of courses on the “Public Safety Pathway” in law enforcement, fire safety and other areas of the legal system.

Students who wish to pursue a career in law, public service or security could earn 24 postsecondary credits while in high school through courses taught by professionals from the Salina School District, Salina Fire Department, Salina Police Department or Salina Area Technical College, who will oversee the program.

“We hope this program will spark interest in young folks to apply with a public safety agency,” Nelson said. “We want to tell them why we’re public servants, and this is a good way to do it. If it works out the way we want, and they join a career field in the fire or police department, it would be a great benefit for us.”