HENDERSON, Texas (KETK) – Law enforcement has always been a dangerous job and during these difficult times, it’s gotten even harder.
A 2019 survey by the Police Executive Research Forum found that there has been a 63% decrease in applications for police officers in the United States.
But that’s not the only problem. Police departments are facing a “triple threat.”
- Decrease in applications
- Earlier exits from departments
- Higher rates of retirement
There’s also a lack of women and minority applicants.
Recent pushes for police reform amid nationwide unrest has taken its toll, giving local law enforcement agencies a bad wrap.
Despite those challenges, East Texas police chiefs say they have faith in their future recruits.
“These are people who understand what the current atmosphere is. And they’re still willing to go out there and put themselves on the line, and so to me that’s a positive. If you’re putting your application in right now under these circumstances…my prayer is that you’re part of the solution,” said Chad Taylor, the Henderson Police Chief.
Police departments aren’t the only ones with low numbers, sheriff departments are also getting hit hard as well.
“A lot of people do not want to get into law enforcement because of what they’re seeing. What’s going on in the country right now. You have law enforcement getting basically crucified by the media for doing their jobs,” said Jeff Price, the Rusk County Sheriff.
To help promote the position and maintain current officers, Chief Taylor is taking a hands-on approach to recruitment by opening his doors to those interested.
“Interview, come in interview the chief, interview the captain, the sergeant, the lieutenant, the regular patrol officer, your dispatchers. The people that need to get in this line of work are people that want to serve people, ” said Chief Taylor.