A looming retirement boom and a lack of applicants is set to become a challenge for the police service in Waterloo Region.

Police Chief Bryan Larkin says the force is undergoing a generational shift and nearly half of the senior officers will be able to take a fully-paid retirement within the next five years.

The police chief says it’s becoming difficult to recruit because fewer young people are interested in a career in policing.

He says the reasons include the perception of officers in the community and the existing job market.

On Tuesday, the service welcomed thirteen new recruits into its ranks during a special badging ceremony.

“When we take these ceremonies out into the community people start to see the experience and the talent that we bring into our organization,” Larkin said at the event.

The service is also using videos to reach potential enlistees, in which young officers speak about their experiences as recruits.

Larkin says the new hireswill fill the spaces left by theretiring senior officers.