A survey of police departments in 2019 found that nearly 80% of agencies reported struggles with hiring qualified recruits. Half of the agencies said they changed internal policies and qualifications to get more candidates. And, that situation hasn’t improved. Departments across the country saw 47% more resignations and 19% more retirements in 2022 compared to 2019, according to a survey of police chiefs. The staffing problems have been linked to excessive overtime and poor public perceptions of police.
Class discussion: Would you ever consider becoming a police officer? Why or why not? Would you feel safer if there were more or less police patrolling your neighborhood? Have you had positive or negative interactions with police officers? Could the hiring shortages lead to police departments hiring less qualified officers? Are police officers being asked to cope with too many of society’s problems? Has the growing proliferation of guns made the job more dangerous and officers more wary in dealing with the public?