It has been found that there are fewer police officers responding to a call in a growing number of cities these days as police departments are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain current and future recruitment levels.
Worse still, aspiring law enforcement candidates have to put in around eight months of training before they can start patrolling, which means it will take years to fill in the vacancies in police departments across the country.
Unfortunately, despite the many avenues to obtain the best criminal justice degree online or through college, it is becoming extremely difficult to get new people to take to the profession of law enforcement, especially in those cities where crime is rife.
A lot of the blame for this goes to the public who have a wrong idea of the police and view law enforcement differently because of the controversies surrounding police reforms and the use of deadly force.
With violent crime rates surging everywhere, the main concern is there won’t be enough officers available to stop a criminal, leaving aside asking for reinforcements in response to a crisis situation.
Addressing the shortage
A few pieces of legalization need to be put in place to ensure the police departments have enough officers to maintain the security and safety of our communities.
Recruitment and retention bonuses
Police departments that are facing staffing shortages should be provided financial support to recruit and retain police personnel in a big way. Eligible police departments then can avail of grants in order to offer recruitment and retention bonuses, provided they follow transparency and accountability measures.
Expedite the training procedure
A systematic way of approach to fill in the deficient pool of qualified officers is to create an expedited police training program and provide scholarships to the brightest candidates who show proven commitment to serving the community.
Other ways of addressing increased crime
In addition to the above-cited efforts of recruitment and retention, funds for data-driven strategies should be made available for the communities to combat crime. These could include hiring private personnel to enhance law enforcement and address the increase in violence being seen everywhere.
Workforce sharing solutions
A workforce sharing solution is another viable option to reduce the number of short-stint job hoppers and ease the number of vacancies. Instead of one agency competing with another for qualified talent, departments should offer exchange programs.
This method is not new to law enforcement as task force teams consisting of special police officers from various departments have proven to succeed and can be used as a role model to build on.
Planning for the future
While there is no way police departments can pay salaries on par with the tech industry, giving certain incentives such as cellular plans, complimentary gym services or other inexpensive credits are within easy reach of most organizations.
This can then ensure other bargaining units and allied agencies that policing remains a good career option for future generations. The key is to gather data to forecast what will happen and how best to adjust accordingly right now.