Where’d all the cops go?February 28th, 2007 by josh farley
Less cops, more robbers?
Following a nationwide trend, Washington’s inmate populations at its state prisons and local jails are expanding.
Law enforcement, however, isn’t expanding with it.
In a story in today’s Kitsap Sun, we report that jail capacity is up at our local county lockup, thanks to some proactive planning that left some empty jail beds. However, Kitsap County Corrections’ Chief Ned Newlin says he’ll need to hire 15 to 20 new officers to cover the new space.
But cops are hard to come by these days.
Demand for law enforcement is at an all-time high in the state and nationwide. The state’s department of corrections alone is advertising 900 job openings in all its departments. Scores more are being sought by local municipalities and counties.
“We’re all competing for a dwindling pool of applicants,” Newlin said.
The 2006 Kitsap correction’s officer contract paid about $18.10 an hour, or $37,648 a year to new hires. The scale tops out at $24.27 an hour, or $50,481 a year, Newlin said.
With a living wage salary, then, why is it so hard to find new law enforcement?
A recent Seattle Times story by Sara Jean Green pointed to a ” … strong job market, the war in Iraq and a dwindling number of people interested in law-enforcement careers,” as the culprit for low law enforcement numbers.
What do you think?