(Portland, OR) -- The Portland Police Bureau says it's facing a major challenge to hire around 300 officers. At the start of the pandemic, they laid off seven background investigators due to budget cuts. Eight new investigators have been hired to determine which candidates can move forward in the process. The department currently has 777 sworn officers. Currently, there are around 300 applicants. The Bureau is looking for candidates throughout the western U.S. They're competing with many other law enforcement agencies that face similar officer shortages. It takes two years to train a new officer before they can patrol on their own.