Normally, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, would have dozens of new police recruits starting training every three months, but due to a number of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, the city may soon face a shortage of cops.
WPVI reported that police are struggling to find new recruits for a department officials say is already understaffed. The outlet spoke to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #5 President John McNesby, who said the looming shortage is the result of a perfect storm of events.
WPVI reported: “The eye of the storm revolves around several issues including a dramatic rise in the number of Philadelphia police officers filing for retirement, a diminishing pool of young people who even want to be a big city cop, and the suspension of new officer training because of the pandemic.”
The most recent class of Philadelphia cops graduated in December, but the next class isn’t expected to being training until May.
“And you got to remember that once you go into the academy, it takes you about 10 months to finish. So, we’re not looking at putting any boots on the ground until maybe next Spring,” McNesby told WPVI.
The department’s recent changes to residency requirements have also made it more difficult to recruit new officers. The new rules state that police trainees must live in Philadelphia before they enter the academy.
“Nobody is going to move to Philadelphia hoping that they get a job. They want to make sure they secure employment, then move in,” McNesby added.
McNesby also told the outlet that the Philadelphia Police Department is understaffed.
“Coupled with the pandemic, in the future, getting classes in and getting them through the academy, we’re at dangerously low levels,” he said.
It appears at least some potential Philadelphia recruits are looking to smaller towns for jobs. Richard Vona, director of the Bucks County Police Training Center, told WPVI that his spring testing dates are being filled just fine, with many recruits who live in Philadelphia signing on.
“The application has only been open for a week,” Vona told the outlet. “But I do see a number of officers from some of the bigger cities like New York and Philadelphia.”
Not addressed in the WPVI article is the potential for recent anti-cop rhetoric and months of riots to be squashing anyone’s desire to become a cop. When politicians, activists, and their media supporters are constantly saying police departments are “systemically racist,” why would anyone want to enter into such an industry? When these same people are advocating for defunding or abolishing the police, with cities actively cutting police budgets while crime increases, why would anyone want to become a cop?
Demonizing cops as racists and monsters makes their jobs more dangerous than they already are and breeds contempt against an entire profession. It’s no wonder young people don’t want to enter into an industry where they will be yelled at, attacked, and threatened for trying to do their job.