Anchorage Police Chief Chris Tolley announced Friday that his department will now hire law enforcement officers already certified with the Alaska Police Standards Council. The "lateral hires" would undergo less training and enter their positions with higher pay, he said.

The APSC is tasked with establishing the minimum selection and training standards for the state's law enforcement agencies. The council determines eligibility for all police, probation and correctional officers, and it revokes certifications for misconduct.

The certified hires won't have to go through the traditional five-month police academy, according to APD. Instead, they will attend a two-week orientation set to start in late May, followed by field training with an experienced patrol officer.

APD would also offer certified officers higher pay than entry-level officers would be offered.

"A lateral hire will be given additional financial compensation for their previous time served based on their prior law enforcement experience," according to APD.

The application period closes Feb. 28.

APD has never hired officers in a similar fashion, said spokeswoman Jennifer Castro. The police department wants to get its staffing numbers up in a timely manner, she said.

"We would also love to be able to add current law enforcement to our ranks," Castro said. "Their prior law enforcement experience will not only help us get more officers out on the street quicker, but will also hopefully help diversify the force as we hope to have officers join APD from all over the state."

It's still too early to tell if APD will continue such hiring in the future, she said.

APSC executive director Bob Griffiths said hiring certified officers is a common practice statewide.

"Every department is trying to recruit currently certified officers," he said. "They've got a past work history that can be looked at and evaluated to see if they meet their standards."