Struggles with law enforcement recruitment still persist

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) Last year a nationwide problem with police departments attracting new recruits garnered national attention and that challenge still persists today.

"Recruiting into law enforcement nationwide is still a problem," Director of the Law Enforcement Academy at the College of Southern Idaho, Rob Storm says.

Storm tells KMVT that there are several core reasons why the Magic Valley is still having a tough time recruiting new officers.

"Unemployment is so low, it's the lowest I've seen it in the Magic Valley since I've lived here for 20 years," Storm says.

Figures from Dec. 2018 state the unemployment rate was at 3.9 percent nationwide, and 2.6 percent here in Idaho.

Another reason law enforcement is encountering trouble recruiting new officers, is officer salary Storm says.

"You start off as a police officer at eighteen to twenty dollars an hour, and there are many jobs you can start with that same career or salary, so why law enforcement," says Storm.

Per year salary for police officer in Idaho is below the national average, which this year's class president at the College of Southern Idaho Law Enforcement Academy says isn't the main reason he decided to pursue a career in law enforcement.

""It's just some people feel like it's the right thing to do, they want to be out there helping people, and this the way they can go out there and help the communities they live in and help serve," Jacob Bennett says.

"You're not going to get rich doing it but you'll have a safe lifestyle, and you'll be compensated fairly well, and you'll make a difference," say Storm.

Storm also goes on to say that if you possess an innate ability to problem solve and truly care about people, you should consider a career in law enforcement.

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