(HorizonPost.com) – States need police officers more than ever before with the rise in violent crime over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, police departments all around the country recently reported finding it difficult to recruit new officers to fill vacant positions on the force. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that in 2020, employment among cops dropped 1.6%, and it’s reportedly becoming more difficult to convince citizens to put their lives on the line in what some say is a field less appreciated by citizens than it was in the past. Even current police officers are choosing to take their experience to other professions for more safety and higher pay.
Police Department Struggles
The role of a cop used to be a respected job. Brave men and women would join the force to serve and protect the great citizens of their state, county, or city of choice. There was a sense of pride for the officer and reciprocal respect from civilians for those willing to put themselves in harm’s way. Sadly, the climate changed, many people don’t look at police the same way, and citizens are less willing to take the risk while suffering verbal attacks from the ones they swore to serve. According to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal, Chief Dennis Weiner of Columbus, Wisconsin, said it’s difficult to fill his open positions. He had to take on extra work because he couldn’t find anyone to hire when a third of his staff left the department, and he’s not alone.
The Police Executive Research Forum in Washington, DC, discovered the quit rate among police officers rose 18%, and the retirement rate increased by a startling 45% between April 2020 and March 2021. The WSJ also points out that after the death of George Floyd and the conviction of his murderer, former officer Derek Chauvin, over 300 cops either retired or took medical leave in the Minneapolis town – nearly 35% of its entire force.
Former Green Bay, Wisconsin policeman John LaValley said left the job in 2017 because citizens regularly called him a white supremacist and a Nazi while he was doing his job. He said the “constant negativity” made him feel suicidal.
The Future of Protection
According to reports, many cities like Philadelphia, Albuquerque, and Louisville, experienced an uptick in homicides in 2021. Officials are trying to figure out the reason for the increase in violence. Some blame continuing stress from the coronavirus pandemic, while others cite the soured relationship between the public and police officers. Unless departments figure out the exact issue and mend the image of police officers in general, it’s possible that fewer and fewer people will choose to serve and protect. Where will that leave the nation?
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