The Baltimore County Police Department has advertised career opportunities on a plane-towed banner above Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the Harford County, Md., sheriff’s office handed out pamphlets at a pro wrestling match, the Baltmore Sun reports. Law enforcement agencies from Annapolis to Los Angeles are offering signing bonuses, and one California police force has turned to religious leaders to help it fill its ranks.
Faced with an officer shortage that is only expected to get worse, police agencies across the nation are getting creative. They say it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find the kid who is educated, hasn’t used drugs heavily and would rather work for the local sheriff than the federal government. Finding qualified police recruits has become much tougher since the Sept. 11 terror attacks as the expansion of federal law enforcement has created more options for people interested in the field. “Everybody’s having difficulty recruiting,” said Jason Abend of the National Law Enforcement Recruiters Association in Virginia. “You’ve got to out-market the other people, especially when you can drive down the road an hour and get in the Secret Service division.” Some departments routinely turn away more than half of applicants because of previous drug use.