MI Police Hiring Down; Job ‘Has Gotten Unattractive’

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A decade ago, more than 200 applicants sought jobs at the Roseville, Mi., Police Department. Now, Police Chief James Berlin sees fewer than 25 candidates on hiring lists for twice as many openings He estimates at least half were unqualified or failed to pass stringent background checks, reports the Detroit News. “We have to do something, especially for the future,” said David Harvey of the Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards. “I think we’re at a crisis situation with the staffing at our agencies right now.”

Dwindling benefits and the rising number of attacks against police nationwide don’t help recruiting efforts. Michigan’s total of 22,488 law enforcement officers in 2001 has dwindled to 18,399. “Those were reductions due to the economy: significant reductions in revenue sharing and property taxes went down,” said Harvey. Some agencies no longer can afford to pay for potential recruits to attend at least 594 hours of police academy training, which can cost more than $5,000, said Robert Stevenson of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police, who adds that, “A lot of the inducements we put out there to attract people to the profession are no longer there.” James Tignanelli, a former Fraser patrolman and president of the Police Officers Association of Michigan, “The job has gotten unattractive. That’s made it harder for us to hire people.”

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