WASHINGTON COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) — Post-pandemic labor shortages and public perception are causing recruitment and retention issues for law enforcement agencies nationwide. And, according to Hagerstown Police Chief Paul Kiefer, his department has also been dealing with officer shortages.
“Had that triple whammy with COVID, the Justice Reinvestment Act and all the protests and everything,” Chief Kiefer said. “I think it had an impact on law enforcement in general…and so it kind of hurt and we got we got bruised up pretty good there.”
Over the past few years, the department has implemented different ways to attract and retain officers. They’ve also reinstated their community resource officer program to help with shortages and avoid burnout amongst the officers they do have.
The Hagerstown Police Department isn’t the only department struggling – the Washington County Sheriff’s Department is also experiencing shortages of deputies and correctional officers.
“We have 117 authorized deputy correctional deputies, and we’re about 13 short in the jail,” Washington County Sheriff Brian Albert said. “We’re trying to look at different ways to try to bring in younger people.”
For both departments, a higher sign-on bonus is being offered. The Hagerstown police drone is also being showcased to attract more candidates through technology.
Both the Washington County Sheriff and Hagerstown Police Chief said that no matter how much of a shortage they are experiencing, they will always be sure to answer every call.