Law enforcement agencies see a decrease in qualified applicants

4 months 1 week 3 days ago December 12, 2016 Dec 12, 2016 Monday, December 12 2016 Monday, December 12, 2016 4:00:00 PM CST in News
By: Hanna Knutson, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA - Over the past year many people have witnessed a divide between law enforcement officers and the community. With that divide comes a need to fill law enforcement positions.

Recruiting efforts from law enforcement agencies in mid-Missouri have greatly increased. Columbia Police Department even created a position for recruitment.

Richard Horrell holds the position of Police Department Training and Recruiting Sergeant. Horrell and said Columbia is not exempt from the national shortage of police officers and that here in mid-Missouri the sheriffs department to the MU police department are all having a challenge of capturing quality candidates.

Horrell has helped recruiting efforts with the Columbia Police Department and has actually seen the number of applications increase however the problem lies with the need for qualified applicants.

“A lot of people are not able to make our requirements such as college education or testing purposes so those are things that weed people out but we’re always looking for people all the time,” Horrell said.

It is up to each state to set the requirements for becoming an officer. However some states are looking to lower their standards to fill the need for law enforcement officers.

Prior drug use and not being able to pass the tests along with prior schooling are key aspects in turning away potential applicants. Some states may start looking past the age-old standards. In Arizona, the state’s Peace Officer Standards and Training Board adopted new guidelines to allow prior use of the drug, Adderall, if the use was not extensive.

MU Assistant Director of the Law Enforcement Training Institute, Adam Duncan, said he doesn’t see the recent changes as a lowering or relaxing of standards but rather more targeting of what they want to recruit in the field.

“If an applicant can articulate if they can say yes I mad this mistake this is what I’ve learned from it I’m a more well-rounded person. I’ve gained a great deal of maturity. I’ve learned from those mistakes then that shouldn’t necessarily be a dis qualifier. For misdemeanor and infraction offenses where the officer can then use that experience then I think it at least makes sense to at least interview them,” Duncan said.

Though some standards around the nation are being changed Missouri still holds their current standards and Sgt. Horrell said they won’t see a decrease anytime soon.

“I don’t see a lowering of the standard for any of our criteria. We’re an agency that’s always been focused and dedicated on quality, character, professionalism, and dedication are the things we strive for. I think lowering the standards won’t help that at all.” Sgt. Horrell said.

Horrell said the applicant pool has increased over the last four years however the number of people who withdrew or failed to go through the testing process has also increased resulting in a smaller applicant pool.

“That creates some challenges so the number of people that are eligible to hire is actually gone down over the last few years,” Sgt. Horrell said.

Duncan said almost every agency is looking for officers and that very few are full staff.

“Part of it is due to funding and part of it is due to retirement or moving on,” Duncan said.

Horrell did site retirement and changing careers as a major reason for having a low retention rate. Both Duncan and Horrell site other aspects that is hurting law enforcement recruiting and retention like:

  • Public scrutiny and the stigma of being in law enforcement
  • Lower salaries
  • Shift work
  • Working weekends and holidays

“We’ve seen a bit of a decline in the respect that’s given to law enforcement. There was a time that by wearing the uniform it was assumed that you were an upstanding upright protector of your community and now that’s questioned that’s scrutinized,” Duncan said.

“I think the challenge we face is people need to be interested in this job and it doesn’t really matter who you are. You have to have a certain drive in your heart. A dedication for service. So getting people who have those characteristics is a challenge,” Horrell said. 

Both Horrell and Duncan have increased their recruitment efforts in schools. Horrell said he attends high school, middle school and college job fairs to get kids interested in law enforcement. Horrell said he tries to target college justice programs.

“We’re also working on partnerships with college criminal justice programs that do not have an associated academy so that we can get college credit and they can get their law enforcement certificate,” Duncan said.

The current class president of the MU law enforcement academy, Reuben Manring, didn’t attend a job fair to know he wanted to go into law enforcement. After Manring and his wife experienced a shooting outside their apartment and Manring saw the efforts law enforcement took he knew it was something he wanted to go into.

“I was looking for a job and I was greatly encouraged to go into law enforcement by the example I saw from the law enforcement officers in that situation,” Manring said.

With some states looking to decrease their standards and having nationally low retention Horrell is confident Columbia and the rest of mid-Missouri is good hands.

“Fortunately in mid-Missouri we have some of the best law enforcement agencies out there,” Horrell said. “I welcome anyone to come into mid-Missouri and look at our agencies. I think they’re a great opportunity to serve our communities.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - The Audubon Society of Missouri (ASM) combined nature and technology with a new interactive bird sighting app. ... More >>
11 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 7:02:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A routine inspection of the Missouri River bridge in Jefferson City will close down one lane Monday... More >>
13 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 5:13:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Efforts by some Missouri legislators to make such discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against... More >>
13 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 4:56:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — The Missouri Department of Conservation is using new technology and smarter traps to improve its efforts to... More >>
14 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 4:00:56 PM CDT in News
FULTON - An ordinance proposed in Callaway County could complicate potential confined animal feeding operation (CAFO) construction. It could make... More >>
14 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 3:30:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — A dormitory association at the University of Missouri is pushing that a new residence hall on campus... More >>
15 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 3:17:40 PM CDT in News
MARTINSBURG (AP) — An eastern Missouri family's dog has been impounded for disease monitoring after authorities said it mauled and... More >>
15 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 3:02:58 PM CDT in News
FULTON – A search party assembled at Memorial Park at 10:30 a.m. to continue the search for 31-year-old Carl DeBrodie.... More >>
15 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 2:53:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — Police have arrested the Kansas man charged with killing the sister of a girl whose... More >>
19 hours ago April 23, 2017 Apr 23, 2017 Sunday, April 23 2017 Sunday, April 23, 2017 11:02:51 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Party For A Purpose mixed the socialization of a party with conversation on mental health and suicide prevention.... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 11:36:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — The Islamic School of Columbia-Missouri invited the community to help them promote international togetherness on Saturday. The school... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 11:05:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Future veterinary students flocked to MU campus Saturday to learn about what the College of Veterinary Medicine has... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 7:22:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — A team of veterinary oncologists at the MU Veterinary Health Center is looking for dogs with cancer to... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 6:35:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Saturday is Earth Day and the City of Columbia has a series of recommendations on how to save... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 6:32:00 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA — Three thousand yellow rubber ducks filled the grounds of Columbia’s Central Missouri Humane Society to raise money... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 4:30:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY — With House Bill 130 set to become law, Gov. Eric Greitens will smooth potholes to expansion for... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 2:58:00 PM CDT in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Hundreds gathered in a downtown Kansas City, Missouri, park on Earth Day in support of calls... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 2:06:00 PM CDT in News
FULTON — The Ryan's Case for Smiles mid-Missouri chapter got together on Saturday at First Presbyterian Church in Fulton to... More >>
1 day ago April 22, 2017 Apr 22, 2017 Saturday, April 22 2017 Saturday, April 22, 2017 1:26:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 51°
7am 43°
8am 48°
9am 55°
10am 61°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

6:00a
KOMU 8 News Today
7:00a
Today
11:00a
Rachael Ray
6:00a
King of the Hill
6:30a
King of the Hill
7:00a
Cheaters

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
The Voice
9:01p
Taken
7:00p
Supergirl
8:00p
Jane the Virgin
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld