Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that although crime is down in 2014, the year is young and the police force can’t seem to retain new officers to fill a gap in staffing, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Recruitment is a major issue, with half of all new applicants not showing up for orientation and many more not making the cut entirely. “Fifty percent or more don’t show for orientation, even though they’ve been invited,” Ramsey said. Eligible candidates must be at least 19 years old, They must pass a physical test and a reading-comprehension test, then a polygraph test and a background check. People are lost along the way. According to the commissioner, about 3 percent fail the ninth-grade-level reading-comprehension test.
“We’re seeing whether it’s a problem of our standards being too tight,” Ramsey said. He said the biggest decline in the department is with African-American men, One-third of the department is African-American. Fraternal Order of Police president John McNesby agreed that the department is understaffed. He said the city is large enough and self-sufficient enough that it should not have to comply with state police standards. “We have way too much oversight. Our hands are tied in getting people in,” McNesby said. “We’re abiding by the rules and regulations that we shouldn’t have to. We shouldn’t have to jump through hoops because somebody missed a sit-up.”