As we have covered previously, there is a growing shortage of police recruits in the United States. In 2019, fewer and fewer young people are choosing to pursue careers in law enforcement, and police departments across the country are feeling the effects. The increasing dangers of the job and high-profile negative press stories have contributed to the shortage of new police recruits. Additionally, private sector employment offers higher pay, making a career in law enforcement less lucrative to potential recruits.
But what about standards? Are the standards for becoming a police officer too tough? Some argue that they are, which is why some police departments are advocating to reform the requirements needed to become a police officer. Here are just a few examples. You can judge for yourself whether or not these recruitment standard reforms are appropriate.
Reforming female physical fitness standards
In Massachusetts, physical fitness standards for women in law enforcement are being challenged. Currently,female recruits are required to meet the same physical fitness standards as their male counterparts which has led to a shortage of female police officers in the state. Female recruits experience a physical testing fail rate of 20% compared to 2% of males who take the same test. Proponents of reform cite the fact that the U.S. military offers varied fitness standards between men and women and argue that police departments should do the same.
Non-citizens on the police force?
Another recruitment standard reform under debate is whether or not to allow non-citizens to join the police force. Given the fact that fewer and fewer Americans are choosing to pursue careers in law enforcement, some police recruiters argue that allowing non-citizens to serve as police officers is becoming increasingly necessary. Proponents again cite the U.S. Military, which allows non-citizens to serve in their ranks. However, some may argue that non-citizens should not be able to enforce the laws of a country of which they are not a citizen.
Whether or not you agree with reforms to the standards of becoming a police officer, there is no question that the nationwide police recruit shortage is quickly becoming a crisis. Police departments and local leaders must do all they can to address this growing problem and ensure that the law enforcement profession is one that attracts the very best recruits our country has to offer.