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Recruiting for law enforcement harder for many departments

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(KYTX) - There are trends, cycles, at times where there aren't enough applicants for many jobs, including law enforcement.

We decided to do some digging into numbers to see what it's like in East Texas.

You know, some departments say there are a lot fewer qualified applicants.

And that means there are fewer officers on the streets to keep you safe if they can't fill the spots.

From robberies, to car accidents, you can find them first.

But what happens if there aren't enough people applying for jobs in law enforcement?

Kristie Brian with Longview Police says there are 6 openings there, and 37 candidates showed up last week to test.

"Sometimes it is hard to recruit new officers because of choices people make earlier in their lives and they don't realize how it will affect them later on down the road," says Officer Brian.

That's a fact Jacksonville police chief Reece Daniel echoes.

He says although his force is full with 31 full-time employees, he had to switch to recruiting only rookies several years ago.

And he's seen cycles in numbers of applicants.

Kilgore PD has also seen fewer qualified applicants.

"Our recruiting efforts are non stop, we don't recruit during a certain time of year, we're recruiting year round," says Det. Reggie Conley with Tyler Police.

Tyler Police saw a bump this year, with 100 people signing up to test for less than 10 spots.

"Colleges and universities are our big applicant pool," says Det. Conley.

"When I started in 1976 in law enforcement, it was the type job that people really wanted and really wanted to have a career in. I don't think you have near as many people that feel that way now a days," says Smith County Sheriff Larry Smith.

Smith says there are multiple factors: less interest, not enough pay and benefits in some cases.

"So in about one in 11.2 that we've hired out of the ones that we've actually received applications from," says Sheriff Smith.

Gregg County says it does much of its hiring internally, bringing up jailers.

"That costs us way too much money as tax payers to train people just to go somewhere else," says Sheriff Smith.

And while others are finding ways around lower interest, the numbers game continues for those who are willing to protect and serve.

We also spoke with Palestine by phone, officers said they would send a press release with information on the department's numbers, but we have not heard back.

Some departments recruit at schools, even implementing programs in high school.

Others advertise on state-wide, reputable websites.

State guidelines for applicants can be fairly tough, plus some departments add in standards above and beyond that.

 

 

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