The shortage of police officers in Michigan has chiefs across the state looking for solutions, since there seems to be a reduced number of applicants entering their ranks and more and more cops retiring.
In 2016, the numbers are shrinking among those coming out of school who want to go into law enforcement. News 4 points out that it may not be very appealing these days to become a cop. Graduates need to get an Associate’s Degree, go through the Academy for 16 weeks and get background checks and psych exams—all to work in a field that pays about $50,000 a year.
At Eastpointe PD, there are ads up for reserve and regular officers. There are also 10 openings at the Southfield Police Dept.
A decade ago it was a completely different picture, says Southfield Chief Eric Hawkins.
With 2-3 positions open, they’d have hundreds show up for recruitment orientation. Now with 10-15 positions available, he says only about 60-70 people show up.
This is putting a real strain on the depts., which now have fewer hands and cops with a lot more overtime – which makes for exhausted officers.
It doesn’t help either- Hawkins says- that there is all this unrest now in the wake of Baltimore and Ferguson, where there have been high-profile incidents of police use of force.
News4 reports, that many police depts. in Michigan are now having conferences to talk about what solutions they can come up with to fix this shortage. One option is to raise taxes to give cops a raise, which makes finding a solution tougher for poorer cities.
If nothing happens at the local level, officials say perhaps the state legislature could step in.
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