Controversies Over Police May Improve Quality Of Recruits, Experts Say


Former McKinney, Tx., police Cpl. Eric Casebolt was vilified across the U.S., faced death threats and was denounced by his own chief after a well-chronicled video showed the officer yanking a bikini-clad teenage girl to the ground and pointing his gun at two unarmed boys who tried to help her. Casebolt, a former officer of the year, quit his dream job. Despite his tribulations, hundreds are vying to take his place, reports the Dallas Morning News. The McKinney Police Department has received 692 applications through nine months of the current fiscal year. That represents a near-tripling from fiscal year 2010, when the department received just 248.

Dallas, the region's largest department, has seen applications go up and down, but still has thousands of job candidates to choose from annually. Experts don't believe a few bad months of publicity will cause interest in police jobs to wane anytime soon. “I'd probably characterize it as steady,” said Kent Kerley, the chairman of the University of Texas at Arlington's College of Criminal Justice. The last two years have been filled with questions about police tactics: shootings of unarmed men in Ferguson, Mo., and North Charleston, S.C., and the deaths of two other suspects in New York City and Baltimore have become prominent. The danger of the job was evident last month when a man angry at police over his child custody battle shot up Dallas’ police headquarters. Robert Taylor, a University of Texas at Dallas professor, said he believes the media hyperventilated over McKinney and made it appear far worse than it was. He believes such incidents will at least improve the quality of recruits.

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