By now every active or retired police officer across the nation, along with most citizens, is more than well-aware of the problems departments in every nook and cranny are having with recruiting and retaining officers.
Extreme Attrition Levels
If you watch the news today (and who doesn’t anymore), you must have seen the headlines screaming about Nursing shortages and the massive lack of teachers in the country. But, very little is being said about the drastic shortage police departments are experiencing in qualified law enforcement officers. The reality, is that the shortage of qualified LEOs is higher by percentage than either teachers or nurses.
For anyone who is interested in becoming a member of law enforcement, this drastic shortage means that depending on where you live, you should have no problem finding several to choose. However, for anyone interested in becoming a member of law enforcement, there are some very good reasons why there is such a shortage.
With so many more people earning at least undergraduate degrees, the starting salary of most LEOs no longer comes close to matching those being offered in other areas of employment. While this might be the case at the entry level, many who turn away from this career field fail to take into account the career possibilities, benefits, and retirement it has to offer.
As society becomes more tolerant of minor crimes and the use of marijuana is legal in some states and decriminalized in others, making it harder for departments to find qualified individuals as potential candidates. Simple things like using marijuana, which might be perfectly legal in a particular state will keep anyone from employment in the field of criminal justice.
Too Many Video Games
Today’s youth is far more obsessed with a sedentary lifestyle involving playing video game, online gaming, watching TV, pretty much anything but being active. This has led to an epidemic of obesity and low levels of physical fitness. When you consider how rigorous the average day in a law enforcement officer’s duty cycle requires a very high level of physical fitness. Finding people who meet the necessary standards is becoming increasingly difficult, further reducing the number of available candidates.
Most departments run a background check that includes a credit report. Although simply having a low credit score may not be cause to decline an applicant, other issues can. These might include an extreme debt to income ratio where the person’s income would not be sufficient to cover his debts. They can also include a person who has multiple accounts in collections.
The Early Bird
To anyone who is interested in the field of law enforcement or criminal, the best things they can do to ensure they are a suitable candidate, is to plan ahead. This means avoiding the pitfalls of “legal” pot, exercising, working out, eating healthy, and of course keeping your credit and finances in good shape. Advice to those currently in law enforcement can and should pass on to the children and anyone else they know who is considering law enforcement.