BOONE COUNTY - The Boone County Sheriff's Department is offering a paid deputy sheriff training program to attract new hires.
They find themselves short of applicants for the program, a common problem not just in law enforcement across mid-Missouri and the country.
Captain Brian Leer says there could be a number of reasons.
"I think there's several things that contribute to the fact that we see a decline in applicants," Captain Leer said. "One of which, obviously, is the political and social environment, what you see on the national arena and national news is really negative. You're not seeing those positive interactions."
Captain Leer said he wants people to know that the vast majority of law enforcement officers are good people and are here to serve and help the public.
He said another reason for the shortage is because the department has been hit hard by the pandemic. He said he can't give a definite reason for the low number of applicants, but these are things that have contributed.
The training program pays for the trainees to learn through on the job training. The equipment is paid for by the department and once a trainee starts, they are paid $17.62 per hour.
"This program was really beneficial because it paid for everything and I was able to do something I have always wanted to do," Boone Sheriff Deputy Liz Friedman said.
Deputy Friedman went through the program in 2019 because she said she always wanted to be in law enforcement.
"This program is looking for good people who have good intentions," she said. "As a sheriff deputy, you wear many hats and you have to be dedicated. It is all to serve the community."
The training program allows for three trainees a year to be a part of the program. Captain Leer said he really wants to reach out to women and minorities to be a part of the program.
"We do value a diversified workforce. We do know we serve a community here that is very diverse," Captain Leer said. "We would like for our workforce to mirror that if possible."
He said the program goes "above and beyond" with training to make sure the right people are in law enforcement and are there to serve the greater good.
The program has an application process which can be found on Boone County Sheriff's Office website.