Law Enforcement Applicants Increase

By CityTownInfo.com Staff

March 23, 2009

Police departments are noticing a steep increase in the number of job applicants, but local budget cutbacks have forced law enforcement agencies to freeze hiring.

KFSM 5 News in Arkansas reports that at a recent job fair, Corporal Mikeal Bates said there was a 470 percent increase in applicants. He said the surge in applications was the result of the economic downturn.

"Obviously people are wanting to get jobs," he noted. "However, we do get applications from people who have been wanting to do this for quite some time."

In Idaho, KPVI 6 reports that despite increased interest, the Idaho State Police in Pocatello cannot fill all of their positions because of budget cuts. Lieutenant Ismael Gonzales of ISP noted due to a hiring freeze placed on all state agencies, as many as seven patrol positions were not being filled.

"Sometimes it's very difficult for us because we're down so many people in the region," he said, "to have maybe, at the most, sometimes one trooper on the road, and that's it for the whole area of Pocatello."

The ISP is hoping to fill its open positions with money from the economic stimulus package.

Cpt. Terry Felsman of the Pocatello Police Department advised those interested in protective service careers to get an education, such as at Idaho State University 's Law Enforcement Vocational Program. Felsman noted that by graduating from this course, one can begin working with the police department sooner.

In a related story, American Chronicle reports that Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole last week encouraged law enforcement agencies to apply for federal grants through the COPS Hiring Recovery Program (CHRP). The grant application period closes on April 14.

"Like many organizations across the country, law enforcement agencies are not immune to the current economic downturn," said Cole. "Too many communities have been forced to cut back on the size of their police force. But Oklahomans stand to benefit from these job-creating and job-saving federal grants. The funds will help put police officers in uniform and get them back to doing what they do best-patrolling, policing and protecting. I hope that law enforcement agencies in the Fourth District will take advantage of this opportunity and apply for these grants."

American City & County notes that the grants, which total $1 billion, are expected to create or save 5,500 law enforcement officer jobs and enhance public safety.

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