State police officials say the looming wave of retirements could hurt the department.
In an effort to meet multiple objectives, the State police last week extended a conditional job offer to an ex-NFL player making him an official member of the next trooper recruiting school.
Cam Gordon had just been cut by the Kansas City Chiefs and was “team hopping” in the National Football League when he found his second calling, reports The Detroit News.
The former University of Michigan and New England Patriots linebacker is looking for a way to make a difference in his community.
“I came to the realization that I just wasn’t performing the way that I once was,” Gordon, 25, told The Detroit News.
Gordon, a Detroit native, suffered multiple injuries during his career including stress fractures in his back, multiple concussions, and a knee injury.
“So I said, ‘What is another career that will allow me to have an impact, have influence on younger kids and also leave behind a positive legacy?’ Instantly, state trooper — law enforcement — jumped into my mind.”
Gordon fills multiple needs for the Michigan State Police, who are seeking young talent as hundreds of state police become eligible to retire in the next three years. As an African-American, he also complements the department’s efforts to boost diversity in what remains a predominately white police force.
Officials say despite Gov. Rick Snyder’s push to fund new recruiting schools and get more troopers on the road — the troopers are experiencing a severe shortage of troopers on the road. A state senator who helps build state police budgets is worried trooper losses through attrition will jeopardize efforts to combat violent crime in cities such as Detroit and Flint.
Snyder’s proposed budget for 2018 includes an additional $9.2 million to train 100 new troopers, which his office says would bring the total number of state police personnel to its highest point since 2003.
But the department has “a serious attrition issue coming up” that could cut into that number, state police Director Kriste Etue told legislators during a recent budget hearing.
More than 250 enlisted state police are expected to retire between June 2018 and September 2020, said spokeswoman Shanon Banner. That’s because graduates from six large recruiting classes are set to reach the 25-year threshold that affords them full retirement benefits from the state.
“At least 200 will be walking out the door. So if we hire 100 with this school, that’s really not even keeping up with attrition as we look forward to the year 2020,” Etue told The Detroit News.
The agency has hired hundreds of troopers in recent years under Snyder, she said, “but with attrition we’re netting just a couple hundred.”
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