Broome County police department reacts to the national police shortage

This is a recurring recording of WBNG's 11pm Newscast.
Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 12:02 AM EDT
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VESTAL (WBNG) - Captain Christopher Streno with the Town of Vestal Police Department pointed out that a national police shortage is indeed happening. “I think there’s a number of factors when it comes to shortages in this field,” he said. “There’s a spike in crime and I think that there’s been a uptick in retirement. A lot of people retiring when they can instead of sticking around for a long time.”

Captain Streno doesn’t see the national shortage as having a quick, easy fix. “You have the whole recruitment and hiring process that leads up to a police academy that can last as long as six months. After that six months, there’s a training period before those officers are allowed to be on their own,” he said. “You’re talking about two-thirds of a year to fill an immediate need.”

However, when it comes to his specific department, he mentioned it isn’t really feeling the effects of the shortage. “As far as I know, we’re at our fulfillment of our numbers,” said Captain Streno.

While numbers are good now, Captain Streno has noticed the applicant pool isn’t as high as it once was. “When the civil service exams are put out, there’s less people signing up,” he said. “So you have a higher number of people leaving on the back end and then you have a lower number of people apply on the front end.”

When it comes to the national shortage, the captain talked with 12 News about the risks. “If man power is down, then administratively you have to make adjustments. You have to allocate your resources in different ways,” he said. “That could lower response time, it could lower the number of officers responding to a complaint, and that could lead to issues with public safety.”

During the conversation Aug. 1, Captain Streno also spoke about how younger generations are seeking out jobs that offer a different work environment. “We’re a paramilitary organization and I don’t know that there’s as many people in that young demographic that want to work for the government or a paramilitary organization as they might have once done,” he said. “There’s no work-from-home when in comes to law enforcement that’s for sure. It could be generational, it could be a part of it.”

Captain Streno said the industry is changing, such as more effort on promoting officer wellness and mental health support.

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