Police chiefs in some of Alabama's biggest cities say they are having a harder time recruiting and they are concerned that if trends continue they could have trouble putting enough officers on the street.
Racially charged incidents such as the fatal 2014 police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., had been a source of controversy well before 2016 began. But this year brought several more disputed incidents, including the June shooting of Mobile teenager Michael Moore, that created challenges for hiring and keeping local police officers.
In the wake of Moore's death, Mobile Police Chief James Barber and Mayor Sandy Stimpson said that interest among potential recruits to Mobile's police academy had dropped dramatically. Stimpson said other departments share the same concerns.
Stimpson said that the discussion came up during a recent meeting of mayors and police chiefs. Stimpson said Birmingham Police Chief A.C. Roper told the group that he could start with a list of hundreds of interested applicants and wind up with only a few dozen qualified candidates. "He's really found it very difficult to hire," Stimpson told AL.com.