Police recruitment numbers declining in the Chippewa Valley - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Police recruitment numbers declining in the Chippewa Valley

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Police departments across the nation are facing a recruitment shortage, according to statistics. In fact, some cities are down nearly 90%.

News 18 reached out to local authorities about their new hire numbers and also how the Law Enforcement Academy is doing at CVTC to see if this trend is hitting the Chippewa Valley.

"In Eau Claire, we have seen numbers go down anecdotally and that is concerning for us," said Kyle Roder with the Eau Claire Police Department. "We obviously want the largest pool of candidates we can find for this job."

According to the Eau Claire Police Department, its numbers are dipping. 

"Many years ago we were looking in the hundreds that were applying and more recently that's been in the 100s and 150s or less," Roder added.

Why are recruitment numbers declining? There could be a few reason like the vigorous hiring process and the education requirements.

"One of the things that may have caused some of the decrease is the schooling," Roder said. "Sometimes people think we just hire people right off the streets and put them in a squad car with a gun and a badge, and that's not the case. In Wisconsin you need a minimum of 60 college credits, and then you have to attend a 17 week recruiting course."

On top of that, you have to pass a written and physical test. On Monday, spring classes kicked off for CVTC's Law Enforcement Academy, and enrollment numbers have been declining. 

"Typically I would reach the maximum, or near the maximum, which is 24 people in our Law Enforcement Academy," said Director of Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement at CVTC, Eric Anderson. "These days I'm seeing slightly lower than that."

Some of the topics covered in the Police Academy at CVTC include community policing, crisis management and communicating effectively in the professional and public world. 

The good news, the number of students in CVTC's Criminal Justice Program is going up. Its grads can have careers in corrections as jail and parole officers.

Anderson told News 18 overall statistics show, CVTC grads are getting hired.

"We're hovering around 85-95 percent, so in the big picture that's pretty good," Anderson said.

For the ones sticking it out in the police program, it's because they can make a difference.

"Just being able to have that opportunity to become one myself and help communities out there. I think that's the reason why I want to become a police officer," Police Academy student, Joshua Draeger said.

Active or retired officers teach the courses offered at CVTC.

Altoona Police Chief Jesse James told News 18 he has also seen a decline in the number of officer recruits within the past few years. 

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