LPD and NSP struggle with recruitment and retention levels
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -Recruitment and retention levels within law enforcement have seen an ongoing struggle. So where does one of the states biggest and most far-reaching agencies stack up when it comes to both?
Its a trend seen across the nation and in Nebraska as law enforcement agencies are seeing shortages. The Nebraska State Patrol said they’re seeing the same.
NSP is looking to fill 54 open positions. Statewide, it’s got 700 sworn officers and civilians, so that’s about a 7% vacancy rate. Compared to other agencies like the Lincoln Police Department, which at last check was hoping to fill 40 in the department of about 360, an 11% vacancy.
“That coincides with the national trends, law enforcement is not a number one career choice for a lot of people and with a very low unemployment,” said Colonel John Bolduc, NSP.
Col. Bolduc said at that number, people won’t see much impact to things like coverage area and response times. It’s slightly higher than the vacancy numbers over the last decade, which have stayed steady between 35 and 50.
“It’s not uncommon for a recruit to come in, become a Trooper and spend two to five years on the road and then branch out into a specialty assignment,” said Col. Bolduc.
Col. Bolduc also said that their applicant pool often looks different than agencies that serve single municipalities.
“We have a number of specialties to include police service dogs, we have pilots, we have SWAT team members, we have technical crime specialists, we have a number of avenues that one could pursue in investigations which are not always readily available in other agencies,” said Col. Bolduc.
Right now, they have 19 new recruits going through the academy in Grand Island. It’s about a six month process and after they finish, they will shadow troopers in their field.
“That’s one of the things that help us stand out from some of the other agencies, our training process is longer, its more vigorous,” said Col. Bolduc.
They’re already recruiting members for their next class which will start in January of next year.
NSP boasts a starting salary of $51,000 a year and four-day work weeks.
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