US: No bulletproof vests and poor pay: Rural police struggle to recruit new officers - - PressFrom - US
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US No bulletproof vests and poor pay: Rural police struggle to recruit new officers

13:25  10 november  2019
13:25  10 november  2019 Source:   nbcnews.com

Seattle police investigating 2 fatal overnight shootings; no suspects found

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Norwood police officers ' bulletproof vests are near the end of their warranties, and the city is already having trouble paying its bills. ◂ WCPO - 9 On Your

NSW police want to follow in the footsteps of their Victorian counterparts by donning ballistic vests and ending single-unit policing . “Let’s do that in New South Wales so This is about trying to prevent that.” Exemptions to the single- officer patrol rules will apply at one-person stations in rural areas, but only

PRINCETON, Iowa — Some days Brian Carsten will pin his badge on at 9 a.m. and not take it off until well after midnight. It's the reality of his job as the only full-time police officer in this small town on the border with Illinois.

a man sitting in a car: Image: Brian Carsten, 52, has more than three decades of experience in law enforcement© Carlos Beltran Image: Brian Carsten, 52, has more than three decades of experience in law enforcement

Every day is different, as the phone is always ringing with reports of domestic disputes, assaults, mental health crises, burglary or even runaway dogs. Carsten, 52, answers those calls largely alone in this town of about 1,000 people — which can be risky when the nearest backup is up to 15 minutes away.

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WASHINGTON, Aug. 24 - A type of lightweight police vest used by tens of thousands of officers failed to stop a bullet in nearly 6 of every 10 tests, according to a Justice Department study released on Wednesday, and the study resulted in immediate changes in federal safety guidelines.

Find out how bulletproof vests work to save lives with help from a police officer in this free video on bulletproof vests and police equipment. Expert: Beau Babka Bio: Beau Babka is a police officer at the Cottonwood Heights Police Department. Filmmaker: Michael Burton.

"That's a long time, especially when you're fighting with someone, or you got a high-risk situation," Carsten said. "You really got to think about that and how you play the call out and how you deal with the person."

And in his limited free time, Carsten, who has more than three decades of experience in law enforcement, moonlights for a handful of nearby police departments. He earns some extra cash and enjoys the change of pace while supporting small rural police departments that are having trouble recruiting and acquiring up-to-date law enforcement resources and technology as they grapple with budget shortfalls.

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Too few officers are willing to carry a gun to tackle a Paris-style attack through concerns they will be treated as criminal suspects.

Police departments around the country say it is becoming more difficult to recruit new officers because of the expanding economy and the current It’s no secret among potential recruits that policing is facing its share of challenges. After the shootings of black men by white officers around

"I don't know that there's any department out there that says, 'Man, I have enough officers, and I don't have a problem with hiring officers,'" Carsten said. "The smaller towns that I part time at have the same problem that I'm having."

Attracting recruits to work for rural police departments is getting increasingly difficult, especially as most new law enforcement officers are choosing to work in urban areas, which tend to pay better and be better staffed.

Police officers earned an average of $56,160 in 2011. That rose to $65,210 in 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Rural departments, however, struggle to match those salaries.

"I don't see the younger officers, the newer officers, coming into the smaller towns," Carsten said, noting that pay disparity was one reason.

The federal government now considers these problems so bad that it has been getting involved.

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Fort Worth’s police department released a recruitment video on its Facebook page in December featuring an Nelson Lim, a researcher at the RAND Corporation, a think-tank, says this is nothing new . Baltimore Police Department’s officer shortage led it to Puerto Rico in search of fresh faces.

Rochester Police Officer Luca Martini has no doubts: A bulletproof vest saved his life. "Every day officers put their lives on the line," said New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman during a news conference Monday, adding that Martini's vest certainly saved his life.

Over the spring and summer, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS — an agency under the Justice Department that supports community policing — conducted a series of listening sessions with rural law enforcement leaders in South Dakota, Oklahoma, Utah, Iowa and Montana to help them identify the needs of their departments.

a fighter jet sitting on top of a runway: Anamosa, Iowa© Carlos P. Beltran Anamosa, Iowa

COPS Director Phil Keith said Attorney General William Barr had directed him to spend more time in rural communities to focus on issues that affect them. He said antiquated technology and the methamphetamine epidemic are major issues, but the biggest problem may be just having enough qualified officers to do the job.

"The competition for deputies and police officers is extremely high," he said. "There is a general trend where many rural agencies are losing law enforcement staff to larger communities because of benefits and salaries, and the tax base in the rural areas just can't grow."

COPS is working to help these departments apply for grants and get access to a number of programs, and they're planning to hold more listening sessions in Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Wyoming and North Dakota over the next few months.

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Police intelligence in recent months also indicate that criminals have been improving their monitoring of police movements and have taken other steps, apart from acquiring more bulletproof vests , to protect themselves. The information comes soon after news from the National Intelligence Bureau revealed

Bulletproof vests not a new problem for police . Body armor has been in use by bad guys since at least Police said 41-year-old Jiverly Wong was wearing a bulletproof vest when he burst into the Richard Poplawski, 23, was wearing one when he killed three Pittsburgh police officers who were

Most troubling to Keith is that many rural departments didn't have access to bulletproof vests, were working with faulty radios and had no means to update basic technology. He said COPS was working on a new mandate that grants will go to those most in need — not those who submit the best applications.

a man standing next to a road© Carlos P. Beltran

"We can't just reward those who can afford to pay grant writers to write polished applications," he said.Still, amid headlines of officer-involved shootings, of officers being found guilty of murder and of charges of police corruption, law enforcement agencies are struggling to convince potential recruits that policing is a career worth pursuing, Carsten said.

The Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit research and advocacy organization that works to improve the professionalism of policing, said that 36 percent of its members reported a significant decline in applications for police officer positions over the past five years. Another 27 percent said they'd seen at least a slight decline.

Greg Graver, 45, has served as the sheriff of Jones County in Iowa for eight years. His department, which includes 10 deputies, serves about 14,000 people across 577 square miles and 850 miles of county roads.

The trouble — as he told the Gazette in Cedar Rapids — is that he has a lot of land to cover, but few people to do it.

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Providing bulletproof vests to police officers should be a no-brainer. The New York State Attorney General's office has created the inVEST Partnership, which employs civil foreiture funds to help reimburse local law enforcement's cost for bulletproof vests .

Detroit police officers have long known adversity: They've worked in crumbling station houses with Some say they're annoyed they have to work second or third jobs to pay the bills while others Not all of this is new . ‘I think the morale of the typical police officer frankly has been poor as long as I can

a group of people in a forest: Officer Miller searches for a trespassing suspect in rural Anamosa, Iowa.© Carlos P. Beltran Officer Miller searches for a trespassing suspect in rural Anamosa, Iowa.

"We're still a rural county," Graver said. "You have limited tax base that you can work off, and there's several county departments that are vying for this money. If the county had the money available to us, then we could certainly add six or seven deputy sheriffs."

That's a concern because there aren't enough police officers to address the country's growing population. A Department of Justice report found that the number of officers per capita dropped by about 11 percent from 1997 to 2016, from 2.43 to 2.17 officers per 1,000 residents.

In Iowa, that number is even lower.

Tim Miller was recently hired as a deputy sheriff in Jones County. Because of the few number of officers, he said he feels like a hindrance sometimes, as they struggle to answer calls coming in from across the county.

"You do have to be a jack-of-all-trades," Miller said, adding that he had to know traffic and motor vehicle law.

"Know when you can or cannot enter into a vehicle to search. Then it comes to like a burglary or theft, we can't just take the report and say, 'Hey, we're going to hand you over to the investigation unit.' We are the investigation unit. We are the arson unit. We're the medical unit."

It's those stressors and other concerns — work-related alcoholism, the rising suicide rate among officers and the high rate of divorce in policing — that has Graver, a career officer, worried that his three children might consider following in his footsteps.

"I would never tell my kid, no," Graver said. "I will support whatever my children's decision is. Would it be the career path that I would pick for them? I would say it definitely would not be."

Shako Liu reported from Iowa, and Phil McCausland reported from New York.

School district in rural Colorado tries new ways to attract teachers .
The Big Sandy School District in Simla, Colorado, has 335 students from grades pre-K to 12th grade who learn under one roof ."When you bring in prospective teachers to your school, what are they telling you they need?" Duncan asked."Salary was a big thing, key thing. And that gets brought up every year at the state level," Superintendent Steve Wilson said. In Colorado, rural teachers are among the lowest paid in any state."Also … there's just a whole bunch more being dumped on educators than used to be. It's not as respected as much," Wilson said. "It's just a tougher … profession than it used to be.

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