All across Michigan, a shortage of police officers has arisen silently, and if it doesn't stop, it could get dangerous, reports WDIV.
Police officers need an associate's degree and have to graduate from a 16-week police academy and pass a very tough background check with psychological testing and oral boards. Fewer and fewer people appear to be interested in doing it.
The sign outside the Eastpointe (MI) Police Department advertises for reserve officers, but officers said they have four openings right now.
The Southfield (MI) Police Department has 10 vacant police officer positions. Chief Eric Hawkins said unlike a decade ago, filling the positions this year won't happen.
"We'd have a recruitment, we'd have 300 or so show up," Hawkins said. "Now it's 10 or 15 positions and we may have 60 or 70 show up." And usually, 80% of the applicants don't make the cut.
Eastpointe Deputy Chief Eric Keiser said it's made the tough job even more grueling. With fewer hands, there's lots of overtime that nobody wants anymore.
"Having officers work 12 to 16 hour shifts, they're just tired," Keiser said. "When you're tired you make poor decisions and we need our officers rested; they need their days off. So we need to hire these vacancies so we can get more officers on the road."