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Cincinnati's Police Shortage And The Nationwide Recruiting Crisis

fifth third shooting
Bill Rinehart
In October, Lt. Col. Terri Theetge told City Council that CPD's response to the Fifth Third Center deadly shooting was an example of why it's important to have a police department working at full strength.

A recruiting crisis is shaking police departments across the country. It's getting tougher to bring on new recruits and the ranks are sliming as officers reach retirement age and others leave after less than a year on the force.

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, there are approximately 700,000 full-time officers working today. That number is down about 23,000 from 2013, and the ratio of officers to residents is also down, from 2.42 officers for every 1,000 residents in 1997, to 2.1 officers for every 1,000 residents today.

In Cincinnati, we could dip below 1,000 officers in the spring of 2019. The Cincinnati Police Department was authorized to have 1,057 sworn officers, but due to attrition that number shrank to 1,017. Now with retirements coming, Police Chief Elliot Isaac pushed to have a recruit class scheduled to start in April moved up to begin this week.

Joining Cincinnati Edition to discuss why America is facing a recruiting crisis is NPR correspondent Martin Kaste (@MartinKaste). And to discuss Cincinnati's police shortage and recruitment efforts are Cincinnati Police Department Officers Michael Schulte and Edwin Rivera.

Applications for the next Cincinnati Police Recruit Exam are now being accepted and you can apply online.

Tune in to Cincinnati Edition Jan. 16 starting at 1 p.m. to hear this segment.