One of the most critical issues affecting law enforcement today is the growing shortage of police officer recruits across the country. Relatively low pay and the increased dangers of the job have both contributed to the problem, but so has the economy. The strong economy has made the law enforcement profession less lucrative to younger generations of Americans given that other career paths offer higher pay and a more traditional work-life balance. Being a police officer is not a 9-5 job with weekends off. It is a way of life and a lifestyle that many younger Americans do not find appealing.
Police departments across the country have had to rethink the ways in which they lure potential recruits. The police shortage problem is especially bad in Portland, OR as there are not enough police officers to patrol the streets. The city has increased available incentives to unprecedented new levels in order to recruit additional officers. New police officers are given a $10,000 signing bonus and are guaranteed a 10% pay increase within two years.
However, financial incentives may not be enough for many police departments to fill their positions, which is why many of them are seeking to fill their open positions by recruiting nationwide. In Indianapolis, this new trend in recruitment is on full display in the form of a recruiting billboard paid for by the Seattle Police department. That’s right. The Seattle Police Department is quite literally trying to recruit Indianapolis police officers to fill their open positions. The Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, located in Plainfield, Indiana, just 20 minutes southwest of Indiana, started a new recruitment class in January 2019 with 150 enrolled which is considered one of their higher enrolled classes.
The fact that police departments are forced to recruit nationwide illustrates just how dire the police shortage in the United States has become. Growing public scrutiny, low pay and the increased dangers police officers face in the job all contribute to the uphill battle police departments are facing as they try and fill open positions. Unfortunately, this trend shows no signs of stopping any time soon.