CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – Across the country police departments in cities and rural areas are encountering a recruiting crisis. So agencies in the Mountian State will hold their first-ever law enforcement career day this Saturday.
- Charleston Career Day – Saturday, April, 17 at BridgeValley Community College from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
- Huntington Career Day – Saturday, May, 15 at Mountwest Community and Technical College from 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
“When you dial 911 you expect someone to come, but with the staffing levels the way they are, police departments are having a hard time,” said Scott Argiro, the special agent in charge at the Pittsburgh office of the FBI.
So in partnership with the Pittsburgh office of the FBI, West Virginia’s state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies are teaming up to find new recruits.
“An excellent event for people to get exposed to careers in criminal justice and law enforcement,” said Argiro.
This Saturday more than 30 different agencies will be looking for those people answering questions about this career route. Officials hope this event will draw the attention of local high schoolers and college students.
Officials say all different agencies from local law enforcement have been hit hard by the recruitment decline. Just in the city of Charleston…
“Back in 99′-2000′ there was 700 of us that applied. And this past weekend we had our first of two tests and I had 14 people show up,” said Chief Tyke Hunt, the Charleston Police Department.
“Last time we had a test we had about 180 show up…so we too have had struggles,” said Chief Shawn Wanner, the Charleston Fire Department.
But it is not just recruitment taking a hit.
“Nationally we’ve seen a lot of police officers retire early, and this year is the largest number I’ve seen,” said Hunt.
So why are local agencies seeing this?
“COVID-19 pandemic and perceptions of law enforcement have not been very favorable over the past few years. So we are looking to change that and educate the public that law enforcement is a career to serve and protect,” said Argiro.