Huntsville Police Dept. getting fewer applicants - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Huntsville Police Dept. getting fewer applicants

HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Huntsville police are tracking a troubling trend as they try to attract new officers.

The number of applications are down by more than one-third, and authorities are concerned about the potential impact of that. A department spokesman calls it speculation but points to the current unrest nationwide and says this is a trend that a lot of other departments are seeing.

Lt. Stacy Bates said the Huntsville Police Department had 918 applications submitted in 2015. In 2016, that number has dropped to 597 applications.

However, Bates said of those 597, nearly 250 applicants never signed up for a mandatory fitness test, which shrunk the potential employment pool even more.

This is a big concern for the Huntsville Police Department because representatives say the city is growing exponentially and they're trying to keep up.

And that’s not the only problem Bates said they foresee if this trend continues.

“We want to have a diverse application pool and we want to hire the most diverse candidates that we can. When the numbers are lowered, it can affect that a little bit because you get to a point where we have to take the best qualified. And when your numbers are lower that it can affect your diversity in other things in those groups. It can affect the number of males to females just depending on how many apply,” Bates said.

He said the department will continue to try to recruit former military members and men and women from college campuses. But he says it will take months to see the new numbers to find out if there's any turnaround from the downturn.

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