Mo. — Missouri Governor Mike Parson is speaking out about a shortage of police officers across the state.
According to our partners at MissouriNet, Gov. Parson spoke about the difficulty in recruiting during a press briefing in the last week.
Over the last decade or so, the highest number of applicants for the Springfield Police Department came in 2011. Since then numbers have gone up and down, but Resource Management Officer Brandon Keene with SPD says the quality is more important than quantity.
“Some of our quality over the last couple of years has actually been really positive. A lot of that is the support we have of our community, which is unlike a lot of other places,” said Keene.
Keene says 2017 was the lowest number of applicants in a decade but the ability to have a full academy in 2017-2018 was something he says the department hasn’t been able to do since the 90s.
Those recruits in the academy are able to reap the rewards of what is essentially paid training.
“A recruit is actually paid. Entered into our academy, where you are paid and get full benefits, health insurance. As an employee, you have to go through our hiring process.” said Keene.
One of their most effective recruitment methods is word of mouth. They offer referral bonuses for city employees, and they also partner with college campuses, offering college credit for prospective officers. However, the focus remains on the future. Keene says long term planning is something that SPD is focusing on.
Keene said that visiting gospd.com is their biggest resource for recruiting, people can find all the information they need there, he really recommends doing a ride-along for anyone, not just those interested in being an officer.