Those in law-enforcement circles call it the “thinning blue line,” says the Boston Globe. Officers from the baby boom generation are retiring, and younger people either are not pursuing police work in the same numbers or are leaving smaller communities to seek better opportunities on larger departments. Many local police chiefs say one of their biggest challenges is to fill vacancies from an ever-shrinking pool of high-quality candidates. “It’s clearly an issue for us,” said Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham. “I’ve never seen it like this. We just can’t keep up.”
Most police officials said they haven’t experienced the level of turnover seen in the Massachusetts cities of Watertown and Wellesley, nearly all agree that a shrinking pool of applicants and increased competition is making it harder to find and keep good officers. Statewide, the number of officers moving from one community to another is on the rise, said A. Wayne Sampson, executive director of the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association.