More Pursuing Careers In Law Enforcement

By CityTownInfo.com Staff
August 27, 2009

The economic downturn has triggered a rising interest in law enforcement careers.

The Danville Register & Bee in Virginia reports that according to a report by the city's human resources department, police department applications have increased by 78 percent since 2007. This year, 368 people applied for jobs with the department, up from 292 in 2008.

"Public safety is the last line of defense that gets cut," explained Lt. Col. Ronald Ball, a spokesman for the Danville Sheriff's Office. "People are now looking more toward job security than they are great, big salaries."

He noted that the Sheriff's Office has also seen an increase in job applications, not just from Danville, "but from other areas all around us who are feeling the pinch." Some applicants have no experience and are willing to commute.

The trend can also be seen at Pitt Community College in North Carolina, where enrollment in law enforcement training classes is the highest that the institution has ever seen. Eyewitness News 9 reports that many recruits are willing to endure the rigorous fitness training because public safety jobs are considered to be more secure in bad economic times.

Jeff Robinson, director of the public safety training program at Pitt, said that their current class of 79 students is their largest ever. "That just showed us the economy is causing people. . .to go into law enforcement," he said.

He also mentioned that a record number of people have enrolled in other public safety classes, including those training to be firefighters or detention officers.

In a related story, the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois reports that recent legislation has changed age restrictions on the hiring of new police officers, in an effort to allow retiring veterans the chance to begin careers in law enforcement.

Prior to the new law, departments were prohibited from hiring new officers without law enforcement experience older than age 35. The new legislation now permits police departments to exceed age 35 by the number of years served on active military duty, up to 10 years.

Rep. Tom Holbrook, who sponsored the legislation which was signed by the Gov. Pat Quinn this month, praised the move. "This is a win for the community, this is a win for our police departments, this is a win for our veterans," he said.

State Sen. Bill Haine noted that the bill will help veterans while allowing law enforcement agencies to choose from a wider, more experienced pool of applicants.

"The values that make a good soldier are the same values that make a good police officer," he said.

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