Local law enforcement agencies fight recruitment difficulties
Members of law enforcement say their job isn’t an easy one. With national events like police shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, local law enforcement leaders say hiring people is getting more challenging.
Law enforcement officer shooting deaths spiked 78 percent in the first half of 2016 compared to all of last year, according to the Associated Press. And now, it’s a struggle to find people to enforce the law.
Between training and the demands of the job, McCracken County deputy Chris Glenn says his job is a challenge. But, he says, it’s rewarding. Glenn says when he applied to be a police officer 20 years ago, it was a job people wanted.
“It was something we talked about as early as high school," Glenn recalls. "I don’t know if today there’s that desire there and that respect.”
Glenn says he does his job without a second thought. However, he says “recruitment of police officers nationwide has become more difficult.”
Chief Deputy Mike Turnbow says his department has worked hard to hire four more deputies like Glenn and increase their pay. Turnbow says, while the money helps, it shouldn’t be why an officer signs up for the job. “The job’s a calling," he says.
Retaining officers is also a challenge. That’s why the Fraternal Order of Police tries to help. FOP President Chris Bolton says, as a brotherhood, they want officers to continue working as officers.
“These are the people, you experience the worst trauma of your life and everyone else’s," Bolton says.
Bolton says the FOP helps with moral and community support, but it ultimately comes down to the individual. “Most people who get in law enforcement and want to serve the community, I don’t feel like they’re deterred," Bolton says.
Turnbow told me when he started as a Kentucky State Police officer 37 years ago, there were 6,000 applications. I spoke with KSP about how many applicants filed applications within the past couple of years. KSP told me it accepted 600 applications.
The McCracken County Sheriff’s Department was able to hire four new deputies after receiving more money from the county this year.