Police recruiters in Arizona are frustrated that they can’t find anyone who wants to be in law enforcement following the era of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the steady flow of viral videos showing police officers acting inappropriately when dealing with the public.
According to AzCentral, leaders from three of the state’s largest law-enforcement agencies made a plea on Monday for the public to attend a law enforcement job fair, saying they are unable to recruit badly needed employees.
While budgetary constraints slowed hiring previously, now recruiters say that the negative images of cops have hindered interest in a career in law enforcement, with parent objecting to cops appearing at high schools to encourage students to give police work a try.
“Nobody wants to be the next viral video,” he said,“ Col. Frank Milstead, Arizona Department of Public Safety director explained. “They see those events happen and they think to themselves, ‘Do I really want to be a part of that? Do I really want to take those risks?’”
Phoenix police Sgt. Jonathan Howard agreed, but added that the right person in the right job shouldn’t be worried.
“If you’re out there doing the right thing and the best you can, it’s not something you should have to worry about,” he advised.
J.C. Collins, director of community and outreach at the Maricopa County sheriff’s office said “Just by the mere presence of our uniform … I’ve seen parents grab their kids, flee school; want to know why there’s law-enforcement presence at their school, ” before adding that Arpaio’s antics tainted the department.
“We can’t take away what happened in the past,” said Collins said. “Obviously, it’s our past that we learn from, and one of the things we show them is, we’re present, we’re listening, we’re there to try and create change.”
According to the report, the Phoenix Police Department is looking to hire 369 sworn officers, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office needs 43 deputies and 251 detention officers, and DPS requires 185 more sown officers. Each agency also has dozens of civilian positions to fill.