Local law enforcement agencies still struggling with staffing

Jamiese Price Image
Monday, September 19, 2022
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Police departments across the country continue to see staffing shortages.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Police departments across the country and here in North Carolina continue to struggle with staffing shortages.

Nationally renowned law enforcement strategist and police chief Dr. Roy Taylor said there are several factors leading to the law enforcement shortage.

Taylor points to pay, the pandemic, retirement, and lack of respect for the profession. "In order to redeem in the respect of law enforcement, where they're respected or trusted, you know, that's important. And they have to get out in the community, they have to be seen in the community, they have to have officers that represent the community. But the community also has to support them ."

The impacts of the police staffing shortages are being felt in both larger and smaller communities. The police department in the Town of Kenly ceased operation earlier this summer. This month, in the Town of Enfield, the police chief, police captain, and a new recruit all resigned.

Taylor said the staffing shortages means fewer officers on the street when communities are seeing a rise in violent crime. "You look in Durham right now I was told there's almost 100 openings. Raleigh has over 100 openings and the wake county sheriff's department has over 80 openings so they're just simply not able to staff those positions, so services are gonna have to suffer and that's not fair to the taxpayer who is paying for those services but in reality, there's just nobody to provide them.

This has forced law enforcement agencies to do a lot with little. In Sampson County, Sheriff Jimmy Thornton, pointed out seven vacancies at the detention center.

Thornton had to pull deputies off the street to help guard and transport inmates. He also had to pull the department's animal control officer to serve civil documents like child support papers.

Taylor said soon you will see departments move to automated services for lower-level issues because department won't have the staff to support some of the services. "I know Charlotte PD has an all-automated system, where you simply give all their information on prompts. And then it'll give you a case report number and somebody eventually will contact you and see if there's any additional information, and then they'll close the case."

Taylor said this is not what people will expect when it comes to law enforcement, but time are changing. "I think people will be disappointed by the level of service because of what we're used to. But going forward until we get this pandemic of lack of police officers settled, we're going to have to start with a new reality."