Why is There a Shortage of Police Officers? Departments Seeking Answers
Year after year, there is a growing shortage of police recruits in departments across the united states and it is quickly becoming a crisis. But why is there a shortage of police officers? We did some quick research and found a few reasons for the shortage and how some departments are working on solutions.
Shrinking pool of recruits
In 2018, fewer and fewer numbers of young people are choosing to pursue careers in law enforcement and police departments across the country are feeling the effects.
In Boston, for example, it was reported that 458 officers are projected to be eligible for retirement by 2019, with a current pool of only 56 candidates to fill those positions.
Seattle faces a similar shortage problem. Since 2008, applications for open Seattle police department positions have dropped nearly 90%.
The increasing dangers of the job and high-profile negative press stories both have contributed to the shortage of new 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 police officers. Additionally, private sector employment offers higher pay, making a career in law enforcement less lucrative to potential recruits.
Solutions to the police shortage?
Some law enforcement agencies are actively combatting the recruit shortage problem. In Portland, for example, new police officers are given a $10,000 signing bonus and are guaranteed a 10% pay increase within two years.
In Dallas, Chief of Police Renne 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.
The police recruit shortage problem in America is deep and complex, but a common-sense solution to addressing the problem is to provide proper funding so that departments can incentivize new recruits to enter the police profession.