Mid-Missouri towns face shortage of police officer applicants

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MONITEAU COUNTY – The California Police Department has two open officer positions. Currently there are only a handful of candidates that have applied.

Holts Summit Police Chief Kyle McIntyre said there could be a reason for a decrease in applicants.

“Well, with the way that things are going in this country, law enforcement is not real popular,” McIntyre said. “People are realizing it actually can be a dangerous job and that you are subject to a lot of ridicule for it, so it’s becoming a lot less popular option.”

California Police Chief John Hoover, who has only been on the job two weeks, said his officers are dealing with the shortage in their department.

“At times it can be a bit of a challenge, but we’ve got a good department and they’re doing well,” Hoover said. 

Right now, there are a total of seven uniformed officers in California.

Officer Rafael Ayala of California said his favorite part of being an officer is wrapped up in the small town he serves.

“The community, how small it is,” Ayala said. “Everybody knows everybody.”

Holts Summit police officer Amber Pezold shares the same feelings.

“The people,” Pezold said. “I could almost name off everyone in this trailer park. We deal with them good and bad.” 

Mid-Missouri resident Reginald Reese said he supports Holts Summit’s effort to patrol more than just its city.  

“When local law enforcement have the ability to cross over into other territories it builds relationships with other agencies,” Reese said. “It becomes a larger team effort towards a cause.”

California Police Department hopes to fill the vacant officer positions as soon as possible after the application deadline at the end of the month.