ALTOONA, Pa (WTAJ) Right now municipal and city Police Departments are facing a shortage.
Altoona Police has 56 officers and only 2 cadets currently in the police academy.
In years past they have had more than 100 on the streets.
Sgt. Matt Plummer with APD said, “Unfortunately it has affected us as well.”
Sergeant Plummer said there are several reasons for the challenge in recruitment.
Plummer said, “They’re getting less vacation, no post retirement healthcare and unfortunately that’s happening all over the country and all over the state what are the benefits aren’t what they used to be.”
Plummer said plus relatively low starting pay and recent dark shadows over the badge have turned some potential candidates off from even thinking about becoming a law enforcement officer.
In fact so far this year APD’s pool of candidates might be considered critically low.
Plummer said, “We only had about 30 applicants.”
That’s compared to more than 100 candidates applying in a typical year.
And time isn’t on their side.
Plummer said, “The hiring process takes some time so by the time you may get to an applicant they may have taken a job at another police department somewhere else.”
There is a silver lining for APD and other local departments, the national backlash against law enforcement has not crept it’s way into our communities.
Plummer said, “Blair county has always been pro law enforcement so we try to push that when we are recruiting.”