Local police departments face tough times recruiting officers - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Local police departments face tough times recruiting officers

(Source: WAFF) (Source: WAFF)

The New York officer's death Wednesday morning hit hard for police in the Tennessee Valley. It’s a challenge local police face when they try and get people to put their life on the line by joining their departments.

"Gone are the days of individuals who are going to come and work at a police department and retire after 35 years of service. This generation coming through is just not going to land somewhere for 35 years," said Florence Police Chief Ron Tyler.

Tyler said as more people retire or leave the ranks, it's getting tougher to recruit officers. Right now, the Florence Police Department has six openings.

"And what parent, do you think, is looking at their college student, telling them go off to law enforcement and excel in all of these areas and make $35,000 a year and if you make a mistake, expect to get butchered on social media," Tyler said. "What we are going to find are those who offer more are going to get the better candidates."

As standards are high for those behind the badge, Tyler hopes they can appeal to those who care more about the community than making a fortune.

"What we are offering them is a chance to come out work with the police department. If it's for three or five years, you get a chance to make a difference in your community and make an impact," he said.

Florence isn't the only police station in the Shoals looking to hire new officers. The shortage is being felt across the state and country.

"The bottom line though is when people call 911 they still need someone to come and help,” Tyler said. “We still need law enforcement officers. This is still a noble profession."

This Saturday, Florence police are having a hiring workshop to give a better perspective of what it will be like in the department. The recruitment seminar will be at 10 a.m. at the police department.

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