Washington News Bureau

Police departments nationwide dealing with officer shortage

WASHINGTON — Police departments across the country are dealing with a shortage of officers.

The National Police Foundation reports 86% of the departments nationwide are experiencing a shortage. It was already an issue, but the events so far in 2020 have the situation worse.

Before this year, hiring for officers was on a five-year decline.

“It’s a hard time being a police officer,” said Dean Esserman.

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Esserman was the former police chief in several cities in the northeast, and now works with the National Police Foundation. He said two big factors are causing the shortage: Municipalities are facing budget cuts due to the coronavirus and police morale is down due to the protests.

“I think it seems that there’s no middle ground today. One has to be on one team or the other,” Esserman said.

Another factor is that police chiefs and supervisors are not staying on the job as long anymore. Esserman said that creates a big divide in community policing, which agencies have been doing for decades.