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Police Recruitment Challenges

With the recent news that PA has hit record low unemployment rates, candidate pools have become smaller and smaller, even impacting local and state police departments. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, hiring was down 4%. But retirements were sitting at 24% in the past two years. We spoke with the Pennsylvania State Police about the hiring challenges.

“Nationwide, police departments across the board are seeing less of an interest in those interested in applying to be police officers or in our case troopers,” said Lieutenant Adam Reed, Director of the Communications Office for the Pennsylvania State Police.

The Johnstown Police Department, in a recent city council meeting, told the public that the number of applicants they had in their recent round of hiring was zero. We spoke with state representative Frank Burns (D-72) about the possible reasons for this lack of interest.

“Every position whether it’s nurses or workers at Sheetz, to get people to work you’re going to have to pay more, When it’s a dangerous job like police officers and with the way that police officers have been disrespected of late, I think you have to pay them more to be able to do this job.”

The Johnstown Police Department is not the only one experiencing challenges locally. West Hills Police Department told us about their applicant pool.

“There was very few, We did get a couple here and there but not of any significance as far as the amount We had very few applicants who applied.”

State police tells us that community engagement programs could serve as an important bridge to attracting more applicants by educating the public on what exactly police work should entail.

“They really work to dispel a lot of those stereotypes and myths that are seen around law enforcement, They educate the public on what to do if you’re pulled over, what are your laws and obligations as a driver? How can you be safe during a traffic stop? Why do police officers do some of the things that they do on a traffic stop or when interacting with a citizen.”

For more information on police staffing, contact your local police department.

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