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Officials say local police vacancies up, recruitment down

There’s a shortage of police recruits across the country, and we’re feeling the crunch locally.

Posted: Oct 15, 2020 6:00 PM
Updated: Oct 15, 2020 9:16 PM

Police agencies like Ilion and Herkimer have resorted to advertising on facebook to recruit new police officers. Rome Police Chief Kevin Beach believes there’s a new mindset among millennials. He’s seeing a trend in people wanting normal shifts, weekends off, and better pay. Something you typically need to wait for when becoming a police officer.

"You know it’s not a job, it’s not a career. It’s a way of life, and it is. You know it’s 24-7. You eat, breath, sleep law enforcement," he said.

"There’s no such thing as a typical day when it comes to policing." Officer Thomas Tardugno has been on the job for about a year and a half now. He became a police officer because he wanted to make a difference in the lives of people in Rome.

"You stop and help someone change a tire, I mean it makes a difference in these people’s lives and it’s the little things," he said.

He says the job isn’t for everyone. Vacancies in the patrol division are the highest they’ve been in 26 years.

"You’d have to do the job to understand like why we really do the job, and understand it’s truly the best job in the world," he said.

Even if it is the best job in the world, Chief Beach says many leave the department for financial reasons.

"They take the test to become a Trooper, and they will leave us even being 2, 3, 4 years on the job to go to the State Police where they’re going to get a sometimes 40-50% increase in their pay," said Beach.

Police departments like Rome may have a hard time competing with the money state police have to offer, but Chief Beach says it’s the comradery passed through word of mouth that works as his biggest recruitment tool.

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