Small, mid-sized US police agencies reeling from loss of officers, job recruitment woes amid anti-cop climate

Big-city police departments such as Chicago’s are not the only jurisdictions facing hiring woes, as small- and mid-sized police departments, 如 Missouri’s Independence Police Department and New Haven Police Department in Connecticut, are struggling to fill a record number of vacancies. Departments have, in some instances, reached some of the lowest staffing levels they’ve seen, representatives tell Fox News Digital.

“马上, we’re allocated 230 officers for our department for commissioned officers, and we are about 38 短,” Independence Police Officer Jack Taylor, the agency’s public information officer, told Fox News Digital Thursday. “I’ve been here 20-plus years. I don’t think I’ve ever seen where we’ve had that many officer vacancies.

An Independence, 密苏里州, police vehicle at an incident in which a child was shot in November 2020.

An Independence, 密苏里州, police vehicle at an incident in which a child was shot in November 2020. (Independence Police Department Facebook)

结果是, Independence Police Department has had to pull officers from other units in the department, such as investigations, community services and the traffic unit, to cover patrols, 泰勒说.

Officers from the patrol unit arethe ones that go answer 911 calls and calls for service from citizens,” 他解释. “We have to make sure that that’s adequately staffed, and we don’t have those people.

The other units in the department tend to suffer because of that,” 他加了. “It kind of trickles down to the community not getting the type of service that we’d like to provide.

As a result of officers being moved to the patrol unit, 泰勒说, “there’s less detectives there to investigate your case.

Photo from Independence Police Department Twitter

Photo from Independence Police Department Twitter (Independence Police Department Twitter)

Your case is going to take a little bit longer to get assigned to a detective,” 他加了. “There’s less traffic officers. There’s less accident investigators responding to an accident.

Taylor said he believed the issues his department is facing extendnationwide.

Officers really haven’t been portrayed in the best light here lately,” 泰勒说. “Even within the last couple of years, officers every day run the risk of being indicted, being sued, being killed – sometimes all three in the same call. I think people look at it and go, ‘Do I really want to get into that mess?'”

New Haven Police Department has experienced similar staffing struggles, 与 72 vacancies as of Thursday, 上尉. David Zannelli said.

This undated photo shows a member of the New Haven Police Department.

This undated photo shows a member of the New Haven Police Department. (New Haven Police Department Facebook )

It’s one of the lowest levels we’ve ever been on,” Zanelli, of the department’s Professional Standards & Training Division, 说过.

The department has 408 positions, 但只有 336 are filled. Zannelli attributed the vacancies to multiple issues, including anti-police rhetoric and an inability to offer competitive compensation.

You have a lot of the criticism on policing — some of it warranted, some of it not,” Zannelli said. “The defund movement has taken a toll on us.

The department has also gone through contractual changes, which have altered the retirement package offered to new recruits.

Despite those small numbers or those low staffing numbers that my agency is at right now, my officers are working twice as hard,” Zannelli said. “马上, our violent crime is lower than every other major city. And the town of Hamden, which is our neighboring town.

尽管如此, 他说, the hard work comes at a cost to the officers.

I think the cost is, a lot of times, 个人. And what I mean by that is the officers are missing time with their families,” Zannelli said.

Small- to mid-sized police agencies account for the majority of departments nationwide, said crime and policing expert John DeCarlo.


DeCarlo, a criminal justice professor for the University of New Haven’s Henry C. Lee College of Criminal Justice and Forensic Sciences, told Fox News Digital the police-to-citizen ratio has not beenkeeping pace with the increase in population.

Taking a wide lens to police departments nationwide, 只关于 17 police departments cover jurisdictions with populations of more than one million people, 他说.

“真, the biggest number of police departments … are in the cities and towns with less than 2,500 人,” said DeCarlo, a former police chief and 34-year veteran of Branford Police Department in Connecticut. “And there are about 3,900, 关于 4,000 police departments that serve populations under 10,000.

The southeast boasts the highest number of police officers, specifically Oklahoma, 堪萨斯州, north Texas and North Carolina, 他说. And while the number of police officers has increased minimally over the past year, so has the population, 德卡洛说.

We saw a small increase of about four-tenths of a percent in police over the last year,” 他解释. “然而, we saw more of an increase in population.

“所以, although there was that minuscule increase in police, there was a larger increase in population. 所以, what happens is the ratio of police to the number in the population goes down.

你在州立法机关对犯罪的态度很弱——我们从一开始就有, a 29-year police veteran, said adequately staffing police departments nationwide has beena big issue,” especially in departments that don’t boast the same manpower numbers as those in major cities.

I don’t think most people know this: Most police departments are under 20 长官,” Brantner Smith told Fox News Digital.

When she’s not serving as spokesperson for the National Police Organization, Branter Smith travels the country providing training and education to police departments.


Most police departments are not these ginormous agencies. And it’s already tough to attract people to those small departments,” 她补充说. “然后, you introduce [的] 退还警察 [运动] and vilification of police, and it makes it very difficult.

Fort Lauderdale Police officers walk past Café Ibiza March 4, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, 弗拉.

Fort Lauderdale Police officers walk past Café Ibiza March 4, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale, 弗拉. (乔·雷德尔/盖蒂图片社)

Difficulties in recruitment can sometimes lead to a police departments hiring less qualified candidates, 她指出. But smaller police departments often have one advantage, 她补充说. Many police officers employed by big cities are now considering whetherthey want to leave and go somewhere where they’re more appreciated.

What smaller departments need to do right now is … to get the word out that they’re hiring, and that they want to attract these big city candidates,” 她说. “问题是, is that takes money.

Fort Lauderdale Police Department’s recruiters erected billboards in Chicago and in New York City’s Times Square.

Wish you were here!” a Chicago billboard states. “WE’RE HIRING.

Fort Lauderdale Det. Brandon Diaz, who works for the department’s recruiting unit, said the use of the billboards is paying off because 524 of the department’s 530 positions are currently filled.

We’ve done a great job with hiring,” Diaz said, “and I think the billboard had a lot to do with that.


Thirty-two uniformed members left the Fort Lauderdale Police Department in 2019. 另一个 32 left in 2020, 和 41 left in 2021, Diaz said.

That was one-fifth of our workforce that we lost from 2019 到现在,” Diaz went on.

The Police Executive Research Forum conducted a survey that was published in March 2022 that found police departments have experiencedsteady staffing decrease over the past two years.

The nonprofit agency surveyed its member agencies and received 184 responses, 这表明 “agencies still face serious staffing issues.

Hiring of new officers seemed to rebound in 2021 after falling sharply in 2020,PERF found. “然而, increases in resignations and retirements continued to put pressure on overall staffing levels of officers.

Burlington, 马萨诸塞州, Police Chief Thomas Browne told Fox News Digital his department is fully staffed with 68 成员, “from myself down to the junior patrol officer.

Cropped view of two police officers standing in front of patrol cars, wearing bulletproof vests and duty belts.

Cropped view of two police officers standing in front of patrol cars, wearing bulletproof vests and duty belts.