The growing police shortage in the United States continues to be one of the top five issues facing the law-enforcement today. As National Police Support Fund has previously reported, the law enforcement profession is becoming less and less appealing to younger generations of Americans for a host of reasons. Dallas is just one example of the many cities in need of law enforcement officers in 2018.
Dallas, the ninth largest city in the United States, needs to fill 250 law enforcement officer positions this fiscal year, and according to Dallas Police Chief Renne Hall, filling those positions could be a major challenge. “We have nights, weekends and holidays, and those are some of the things that are not necessarily attractive to millennials who want all days off,” said Chief Hall, describing the challenges her department faces while trying to recruit more officers.
Chief Hall proposed a few new programs that could help fill the 250 open positions in her department, including giving four to six days off for any officer who helps recruit a new candidate to the police force. Only time will tell if such new programs will help lure millennials in to the law enforcement profession.
There continues to be many factors influencing the growing police shortage in the United States. Average starting salaries for police officers are simply not competitive with other lines of work younger generations of Americans may choose to pursue. Furthermore, the increasing dangers of the job and high-profile negative press stories surrounding police officers have also contributed to the drop in police recruits. Many potential recruits have simply decided to abandon a career in law enforcement given the dangers of the job and increased public scrutiny of officers.
The police recruit shortage in our country will require local leaders to pilot new incentive and recruitment programs to lure millennials to this dangerous line of work. Cities like Dallas, which is currently experiencing an influx in violent crime, are in desperate need to fill open positions in their departments. The solution to the recruit shortage, however, remains elusive in most major American cities.