Amid police staffing shortages, efforts to change eligibility requirements are considered

While police departments across Maryland and in Baltimore City are experiencing staffing shortages, there are new efforts to change eligibility requirements to recruit more officers.

“There are a lot of Marylanders who are worried about crime in their neighborhood and around the state,” said Maryland Senator Cheryl Kagan. “One of the challenges is that we have a crisis level shortage in police officers.”

Kagan has introduced legislation to change the citizenship requirements for some police officer applicants in Maryland who have prior military service.

Full story: Amid police staffing shortages, efforts to change eligibility requirements are considered

5 Replies to “Amid police staffing shortages, efforts to change eligibility requirements are considered”

  1. In this article it states that former deputy police commissioner of the Baltimore police department said he thinks that he thinks reducing minimal standards for law enforcement candidates is a bad idea. He goes on to say that it could fill the positions with people who are less qualified and potentially not likely to perform well. I couldn’t disagree more with this statement. Citizenship has no effect on someone’s ability to enforce the law. Additionally, these candidates have been vetted by the US government and have chosen to show their loyalty to this country by choice. These are people who have proved they want to be a part of the solution and are likely not just looking for meaningless employment. I think these candidates could bring further benefit to departments because many are most likely bilingual and offer diversity that could help community members feel better about interacting with police in a positive way.

    1. You make a great point about the value of having bilingual staff members in police departments, even if they aren’t front line positions. Individuals who show a sincere desire to benefit their community should be given a chance, especially considering the reality of the situation and how short staffed some departments are. I think this methodology makes sense for lower level positions; however, I also am concerned with the lack of experience with people entering higher level roles. In the past, to become a homicide detective, it would take 8-10 years of field experience, with that time taking a massive drop in recent years; what effect does this lack of experience have at a higher level?

    2. I think you make great points about trying to diversify the law enforcement community but will lowering standards to become a police officer be a permanent solution? Lowering the requirements may result in more applicants, but it does not ensure that they are truly qualified for the position. Those who are primarily attracted to police employment because of the relaxed criteria may not be as invested in the field as others, and they may not have the necessary passion and dedication to provide successful service. Further staffing issues and increased turnover rates may result from this. Focusing only on lowering standards might neglect more sustainable ways to achieve diversity, addressing unconscious bias in recruitment practices, creating inclusive workplace cultures, and offering targeted outreach programs to underrepresented communities are crucial long-term strategies for building a diverse force that reflects the population it serves.

  2. I fully agree that it is a positive thing to have police departments fully-staffed, and that the qualifications for these jobs should not be terribly strict. Bilingual individuals can be a major benefit to departments, as throughout the community you are more than likely to come across individuals of various backgrounds. With this being said, we should be very careful who is carrying a badge, especially with the media placing a target on officers’ backs as of late. It is important to remember that officers have power, and abuse of this power can pose major problems on not only certain departments, but the public’s view on the police nationwide.

  3. What intrigues me about this post is that the Military did this back during the Vietnam War in order to introduce more bodies into their ranks. They were nicknamed McNamara’s Morons because they were below the standard in intelligence and other aspects such as weight, height, etc. These individuals were quite often not combat effective and instead damaged military prowess within the war (granted their role was small) more than likely if they lower the standards to allow less fit individuals into their PDs the result will more than likely be negative although the standard will probably not go as low as McNamara’s Morons were. Having, for example, more overweight officers within the PD could lead to a negative image on cops and their effectiveness as officers will be diminished unless they have some sort of strict PT plan emplace to mold them into shape similar to how the military takes civilians and molds them into effective military personnel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *