By Pam Sury
Law enforcement is having a difficult time recruiting, hiring and training certified officers. The reasons for this range from monetary to an overall change in society.
Recruiting police officers has become extremely competitive. Times have changed and a crisis has started.
Right now, the Clovis Police Department is understaffed by an estimated 17 officers. On many occasions, one officer must respond to a call when two officers are needed.
More than half of the city’s officers now employed have less than six years of experience. Seven officers are eligible for retirement, which means we’ll soon have a need for even more experience.
The initial cost to hire a police officer is about $1,800. Those costs include testing, background investigation, drug screening, and polygraphs.
Training for a rookie police officer can cost more than $50,000.
Officials with the Clovis Police Department report 65 officers have left the police department in the last five years.
That is a lot of lost taxpayer dollars.
If we cannot recruit, retain, and pay our officers and be competitive with other police departments, then I’m concerned that the quality of service will decrease.
It will take more time to respond to calls; we will have a less proactive enforcement, a higher crime rate and more tax money and hours spent on training, not patrolling.
An understaffed police department may be unable to respond to private property crashes or gas drive-offs and response time to all calls may be slower.
Police officers can no longer be looked at as city employees that are easy to replace. Law enforcement is a competitive profession.
We need to implement the following if we want a qualified and quality police force:
1. Create a pay plan that is competitive statewide.
2. Create an incentive package for police officers to keep them here.
3. Create a plan to compensate certified officers for their previous law enforcement experience.
4. Create a fund for aggressive recruiting and promotion of the department.
Finally, our city needs to increase police salaries by 20 to 30 percent across the board.
It’s a competitive profession and Clovis is falling behind.
Pam Sury is a Clovis resident with several family members employed by the Clovis Police Department.