Police departments across America are struggling to recruit cops. In some parts of the country, it’s gotten really bad.
Take Austin, Texas for example.
As of the beginning of April, they’re down 128 officers.
Austin Police Association President Ken Casaday talked about how the challenges are nationwide.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s LA, Portland, Boston,” he said. “Everyone’s having difficulty hiring.”
That’s why Casaday pushed for a pay raise for cadets willing to come to Austin’s Police Academy.
Once they become Austin Police officers, they’re some of the highest-paid in the state….but the initial challenge is first asking them to spend a year in the academy.
“You’re asking people to pick up their families, leave their jobs in other cities, to move here to Austin for $40,000 a year. And there’s just a lot of people that can’t afford to do that,” Casaday said.
That’s why Austin just bumped up cadet pay to $50,000 for the next Academy which starts in June.
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It’s nowhere near as bad as Houston… which is short 1,500 officers, said Representative Lynn Stucky, of Denton. As a result, Stucky has authored a House bill that would pay for some college in exchange for time worked on the police force, similar to what is done in the military.
“That’s what they’re calling it — the GI Bill for the police,” Stucky said.
Basically the state would fund student loan repayment for officers year-by-year as they work towards a degree.
“If you’ve got somebody looking at multiple careers and the beginning salaries are very similar, this is basically going to be a $4,000 per year raise,” Stucky said. “To help them pay off some of the debt they have.”
A company working closely with police departments across the country recognized the challenge… and decided to step up to help.
DetectaChem is already well known in the law enforcement community – they specialize in mobile drug detection for police and other first responders. They have been rolling out innovative new smart phone drug testing applications in conjunction with police departments across America and are basically replacing old fashioned NIK/NARK/ODV type kits.
Greg Giuntini, Director of Market Development at DetectaChem, said his company noticed a growing need among departments for not just technology…but also to find new cops as they face growing staff shortages.
That’s why they’ve launched a national program to assist departments recruit more officers.
“So many of these departments have budgets already set aside to buy our drug detection kits, but they can’t seem to get the funds needed to produce effective recruitment videos or marketing materials to help boost the number of applicants.”
In an innovative new program, DetectaChem is PAYING for those recruitment videos and marketing materials to help out agencies get the right officers on board.
“The money has already been allocated for drug detection kits. But we saw an opportunity to help the departments we work with to get something they desperately need but can’t pay for – new police officers.”
GTI was founded in 2003 to address needs of state and local law enforcement agencies throughout the United States with research-based training. GTI’s multiple courses contain a cooperative curriculum base and ongoing research from a staff with extensive operational military and law enforcement experience.
The ATP program allows departments to utilize their forfeited-seized assets or surplus law enforcement equipment to provide funds for everything from DHS-approved SWAT or active-shooter response training courses, to new equipment… to recruitment materials.
“Because agency funding has been so restricted in recent years, the Asset Trading Program quickly became a popular if not the only option for some agencies to purchase new equipment, training and services. This program is changing the way our industry makes purchases,”said Brian Naillon, the Vice President of GTI.
The agency gets the benefit of the asset sale, which means that no funds from the trade end up in the jurisdiction “general” fund (unless desired). Those funds can then be used through any of the ATP vendors without the hassle of having to deal with your local city or town, tap into already strained budgets or get approval of funds.
To learn more about DetectaChem or GTI’s programs to help pay for recruitment videos, send us a message below.