Police departments nationwide face staffing shortages

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — The Newport Police Department is looking for new officers to join the force.

Police noted in a press release Friday that they’re is looking for both new recruits and certified police officers.

The department is one of thousands nationwide who’ve faced staffing shortages within the last decade.

Law enforcement and security analyst Todd McGhee weighed in and said recruitment and retention have been an issue since he retired from Massachusetts State Police in 2011.

“We had the same problem with shortages and keeping up with our mandated numbers,” McGhee said.

The former trooper explained there is a twofold challenge in the career, with officers reaching retirement, and others looking to transfer into state or federal agencies, with more resources financially.

He noted ways to draw in talent, recruit, and retain, include youth and Explorer programs for children as young as middle school.

“There’s always a way to have a great conversation with someone from the department, from your local department, good friend, family, from a state agency,” he said.

Most agencies have mandated amounts of officers, but McGhee said the level shrinks through attrition with transfers, retirees, and a six-month long police academy. This makes it difficult to catch up to the mandated numbers.

“So, the formula is never going to catch up to get those levels where they need to be based on whatever they’re chartered for, whatever they may need it,” said McGhee.

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