Police Shortages: Finding the Bad Boys of Tomorrow

While there is a shortage of police officers in federal jobs, the country is also facing a shortage of local police recruits, leaving law-enforcement officials around the country scrambling to fill the ranks.

In Schenectady, New York, the police department is short 16 officers. This is allegedly causing the public safety commissioner to pull three officers from patrolling Schenectady public schools to put on the streets.

In Fresno, California, top law enforcement officials are reportedly courting graduating cadets, pitching job offers at the ceremony. According to the Sacramento Bee, Mariposa County Sheriff Jim Allen reassured cadets during the local police academy graduation that in his county, “We don’t have as many shootings.”

If you’re a resident of New York City and have gotten away with a lower-than-usual amount of traffic tickets, it might be because the NYPD counts just under 36,000 officers. According to the NYPD Chief of Personnel Rafael Pineiro, this number is 5,000 short of an all-time high of 41,000 officers in October 2000. Recently, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly publicly blamed falling recruitment levels on the low starting salary — $25,100 for the first six months of the year and then a raise to $32,700.

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Not all is doom and gloom in the land of the five-0s, however. The police department in Aurora, Illinois, is swearing in 16 new officers at its Thursday evening ceremony, reportedly the largest group of new hires in the department’s history.

But in Baltimore, it’s a mixed bag over their new police hires. They successfully swore in its new class, but some cops are left without uniforms. According to the Associated Press, the Baltimore Police Department doesn’t have any more pants (sizes 36 and 38, to be exact), an unintended consequence of recently hiring 240 new officers. According to a police spokesperson, the department has put in an emergency order for the custom-made navy-blue pants in those popular sizes.

Elaine Rigoli has nearly 15 years of experience managing content and community for various B2B and consumer websites. Elaine has written thousands of business and technology articles and has been quoted in The Wall Street Journal and eWeek, among other publications.

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3 Comments on “Police Shortages: Finding the Bad Boys of Tomorrow

  1. To some degree law enforcement organizations are getting what they deserve. They continue to insist on doing things the way they’ve been doing them for decades while society and technology change all around them.
    I grant that not everything can nor should be changed; there are certain things that have to be done when you pay someone to have a gun, car and badge. They do have a problem with a percentage of the population being ineligible for drug use, crimes, etc. so they do have some constaints on their applicant pool. However, who ends up in law enforcement recruiting? former beat officers– which is ok for certain stages of recruiting and I would suggest less effective for other stages of recruiting, the same applies for their marketing and branding…
    Name me one law enforcement organization that has fully implemented online ATS (as opposed to still processing paper applications), podcasts, structured video interviews for distant applicants, blogs, passive recruiting, etc., and more that are all the essential tools of the game today in any other industry-except law enforcement by their own admission–and I’ll eat my last parking ticket.

  2. To some degree law enforcement organizations are getting what they deserve. They continue to insist on doing things the way they’ve been doing them for decades while society and technology change all around them.
    I grant that not everything can nor should be changed; there are certain things that have to be done when you pay someone to have a gun, car and badge. They do have a problem with a percentage of the population being ineligible for drug use, crimes, etc. so they do have some constaints on their applicant pool. However, who ends up in law enforcement recruiting? former beat officers– which is ok for certain stages of recruiting and I would suggest less effective for other stages of recruiting, the same applies for their marketing and branding…
    Name me one law enforcement organization that has fully implemented online ATS (as opposed to still processing paper applications), podcasts, structured video interviews for distant applicants, blogs, passive recruiting, etc., and more that are all the essential tools of the game today in any other industry-except law enforcement by their own admission–and I’ll eat my last parking ticket.

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