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Several WNY police departments trying to rebuild ranks amid worker shortage

Police Recruitment July 2022
Posted at 4:20 PM, Jul 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-11 00:32:59-04

AMHERST, N.Y. (WKBW) — Several local police departments are working together to rebuild its ranks.

This issue is becoming common across the country.

Departments are finding fewer recruits to fill a larger number of open positions, according to Police 1.

It cites factors like COVID-19, low unemployment and a negative attitude towards law enforcement.

The law enforcement industry is not the only industry being impacted unfilled positions. Occupations like nursing, teaching, construction and even the military are all experiencing a "skilled labor shortage", according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Town of Amherst Police Department Captain Charles Persons said, "Filling the positions with quality candidates is always a difficult thing. We are always looking to expand the pool of candidates."

Captain Persons said said he cannot speak on why recruitment is low but said all questions about law enforcement can be answered at Monday's recruitment event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The July 11 event is at the Amherst Police Community Policing and training facility, located at 4220 bailey avenue in Amherst.

"That's what this event is all about. We want to get a diverse group from the community to come and learn about the police department and discover for themselves, what it is the police department does," Captain Persons said.

Candidates must be between 19 and 35 years old to be admitted to the Erie County Police Officer/Deputy Sheriff exam. Seventeen different agencies will be hiring off this Civil Service exam, which is only given every three years.

"To have all of these different agencies giving the exam on the same date and same time, is a fantastic opportunity. A candidate can come in, sit for one exam and have that score count for the Erie County Sheriff's Department, Town of Tonawanda, the Town of Amherst. Also, for the University Police, the State Park Police," University at Buffalo deputy chief of police, Joshua Sticht said.

Other agencies to be in attendance are Cheektowaga, Kenmore, Lancaster, Tonawanda, the City of Lockport, and Buffalo State College Police.

Positions like police officers and dispatchers are available.

The starting pay for Amherst Police Department is $62,000. Police officers can make up to $100,000, while dispatchers can make up to $80,000.

Captain Persons said, "There are incentives if you are a better educated, if you have a master's degree or PhD. There's incentives for that. There's always overtime available, so pay can go up from there."

This fee can be waived for people with lower economic statuses. In order to increase outreach in minority candidates, the agencies are partnering with UB to give a free test preparation class.

"During the month of August, there will be sessions where candidates can come and be taught how to do well on the Civil Service test. This is the kind of thing that usually costs people a lot of money if they buy the books online. This will be a free service that we're lucky to be able to provide with the UB EOC, the Educational Opportunity Center," Sticht said.

The Erie County Civil Service Police Officer exam will be held on September 17.

The deadline to register for the exam is July 27.

The cost to take the test is $35.