Police recruiters from Anchorage, Alaska, will visit Ann Arbor Mi., next week in hopes of luring experienced officers north, says the Detroit News. As with police departments throughout the U.S., Anchorage is having a hard time finding qualified candidates to patrol its streets. It hopes to take advantage of Michigan’s economic troubles by enticing veteran officers with offers of higher pay, better perks, and job security. Recruiters from Fort Lauderdale, Fl., were in Detroit last month. Denver, a couple of towns in Wyoming and the Nevada State Police all have come calling.
There is a law officer shortage nationwide. Rosters have thinned as more retire or take buyouts. Some budget-strained departments aren’t filling open positions, leaving a bigger workload on fewer officers. In Michigan, demand for workers — even police officers — is in decline. Dwindling tax revenues and cutbacks, with the threat of layoffs, have young officers looking for work before the ax falls, said James Tignanelli, president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan. Anchorage’s first stop, Ann Arbor, is considering layoffs. “I don’t think guys are going to be considering Alaska just because they are really into hunting or Fort Lauderdale because they like beaches. They are going to take those jobs because they think they’d better go. If you are 10, maybe even 30 from the bottom of the seniority list in a place like Ann Arbor, you’re looking.” Experts say the nationwide police officer shortage is driven by several other factors as well: Low pay and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have tempted able-bodied, public-service-minded young people into joining the military.