CLEVELAND — In most major cities, including Cleveland, crime is up while the number of people willing to protect and serve is down.
“There has been a lot of negative press toward law enforcement in general and it detracts people from wanting to get into this,” said Gates Mills Police Chief Gregg Minichello.
The shrinking number of people who want to become police officers is a trend that police departments have been watching.
“Twenty-plus years ago when I was hired it was a profession that was considered honorable and desired and today I don’t think it comes across the same way,” said Lorain Police Lt Dan Reinhardt.
Police from several different local departments agree that 15 or 20 years ago, a civil service test to become a police officer would draw hundreds of interested applicants.
Now, some departments are lucky to get double digits.
“We’ve gone from 250 on a test to 30 and that's a good test. So for the first time ever, we’re in the middle of lateral transfers which is interviewing people from other departments to trade departments and come work for us,” said Bedford Police Deputy Chief Rick Suts.
The East Cleveland Department is down about a dozen officers. The department is struggling to keep current officers while recruiting new officers at the same time.
“We have low pay compared to the private sector. But in the past policing used to be a position that was glorified, people were proud to wear the uniform they were able to do the position with dignity and have some type of respect from the community. Now, it seems to be a political hot button,” said East Cleveland Police Sgt. Dominique King.
Between last weekend and next weekend, the Cleveland Police Department has five recruiting events scheduled.
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