Los Angeles, which is home to the nation’s third largest police force, is desperate for qualified candidates.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) is currently down more than 100 officers, and that’s in addition to the 350 officers they need to hire every year to account for attrition. If the current trend of unqualified candidates continues, LAPD officials worry that the force may become severely compromised.
LAPD Assistant Chief Sandy Jo McArthur, who is in charge of the department’s recruitment and training programs, said that a lack of qualified candidates is a very big red flag for the department, and that once they start losing ground, “it is so hard to climb back.” In other words, once the numbers take a dive, it is simply too difficult to recover.
Fewer Applicants and Fewer Qualified Applicants
Although the LAPD celebrated their goal of 10,000 officers earlier this year, they are now experiencing fewer applicants, and many of those who apply for being disqualified from consideration. Recent figures show that the percentage of applicants who are unable to make it through the hiring process has increased by one-third due, in part, to issues such as drug problems, financial problems, and criminal pasts.
It is also noted that other nearby law enforcement departments are luring away potential candidates with higher salaries, and that recent budget cuts have eliminated much of the marketing aimed at applicants.
Academy Numbers Continue to Drop
The department notes that the number of minorities, including women and blacks, has dropped, as well, thereby leaving them short in terms of their diversity goals. A number of academy classes over the summer had to be cancelled due to low numbers, and just 88 recruits have entered the academy since July, far below the 160 needed to keep up with the attrition rate.