CINCINNATI -- John Cuthbert has worked as a minister, he’s had a job in insurance and he’s been a teacher.
At 60 years old, Cuthbert isn’t ready to retire; he’s among the increasing number of mature recruits vying for a spot with the Cincinnati Police Department.
Cuthbert said he has always had a desire to help others, and although he isn’t in his 20s or 30s, he still has a shot to serve the community.
“I think protect and serve, what was on the car when I was a kid ... those are two noble pursuits,” Cuthbert said.
Officer Ronnie Hugley said he has seen a lot more mature applicants recently. After narrowing down the current pool of 80 to 100 applicants, about 15 percent are 50 years old or older.
“If someone comes in at 50 or 60, do they have a shot? Yes. Can they do this job? Yes, they can,” Hugley said.
Age isn’t stopping Cuthbert, and he’s not alone.
Mike Mobley, 51, also wants to answer the call to serve, and he wants to push his limits. After having a hip replacement, he said he feels the best he’s felt in his adult life.
Officer Tony Brucato said he understands what draws people to the police force.
“Helping people is one, and two -- everyday is different ... so it can be exciting,” Brucato said.
Brucato also said the job is as demanding as it is exciting. Recruits are tested mentally, psychologically and physically, and they have to pass certain requirements.
Cuthbert and Mobley have been exercising for months in preparation.
Another recruit applicant, 21-year-old Corey Watkins, trains with Mobley at the YMCA. Though some have questioned why Mobley and Cuthbert are trying to join the force, others like Watkins have been extremely supportive.
“It taught me no matter how old you are ... you can still do it. Mind over matter. Keep going. Don't stop,” Watkins said.
Applicants must be at least 21 years old to join the Cincinnati Police Department, but there are no other requirements.
The age cap for recruits used to be 35, but that hasn’t been in effect since 1986. Still, most applicants are in their 20s or 30s, but that doesn’t mean those with more experience won’t make the cut.
Hugley said the likelihood of making it in is more dependent on the individual than their age, adding that more mature applicants have more life experience than a younger candidate.
“If the person has the drive, the physical conditioning and the will to do it, they can,” Hugley said.
Cuthbert said he believes with age, comes wisdom.
“One thing they might not have is the experience I have and being able to talk to people,” Cuthbert said.
Academy officers said mature applicants may not be able to work as many years as a younger candidate, which is one reason they think an age cap would be beneficial. They also said a few officers who were rookies in their 50s are now an imperative part of the force.
The Cincinnati Police Department is accepting applications for the next recruit class until July 31.