Whether drawn to other jobs in a robust economy or discouraged by growing scrutiny of law enforcement, fewer people in Connecticut are applying to become police officers, reports the Hartford Courant. Police leaders across the state and nation say applicant pools have shrunk, in some cases by more than half, in the past 20 years. Many blame what they say is the media’s focus on officers’ violent, sometimes fatal, confrontations with suspects. “We’re very honorable and very professional, but the way we’re portrayed is not that anymore,” Manchester police department recruiting supervisor Sgt. Jamie Taylor said. “The police used to be heroes in blue; now we’re killers in blue.” Police administrators also cite low unemployment as a main factor in withering applicant pools. Young people can find more lucrative work with far less stress, they say, and the long hiring process–128 days for officers, compared with 23 across all job sectors, according to one study–also discourages some applicants.
The most recent issue of the Police Executive Research Forum newsletter highlighted discussions at a May 31 meeting in Nashville, where law enforcement leaders talked about the difficulty of recruiting and diversifying their departments. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Sun reports that officials there want to hire a marketing firm to help attract “millennial, local, minority, female, and ‘ideal’ candidates” to fill 90 officer vacancies. “The BPD has an opportunity to recruit the next generation of ideal patrol officers for 21st century policing in Baltimore, and it aims to attract diverse, local talent through a targeted digital social media marketing campaign,” the request for proposals says.