Police Face Severe Shortage of Recruits

By OLIVER YATES LIBAW


With the number of applicants down more than 90 percent in some cities, police departments may soon be posting more signs that say “Help Wanted” instead of “Most Wanted.”


From the nation’s largest police force in New York City to tiny departments with only five officers, far fewer people are looking to join the force than in years past, and departments of all sizes are being forced to rethink how they fill their ranks.

While public safety departments face some of the same problems other employers do with U.S. unemployment at a 30-year low, police recruiters are additionally stymied by the job’s low pay, tarnished image, increasingly tougher standards for new recruits and limited job flexibility.


“You don’t move up in a police department the way you would in a dot-com,” admits Chicago Police Department recruiter Patrick Camden.

And most importantly, few jobs are more dangerous.

“You can get shot at for $40,000, or be home with your family for $60,000,” says Seattle police recruiter Jim Ritter. Read More

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