Police departments are facing recruitment problems

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WAUSAU/PLOVER, Wis. (WSAW) -- It's a common trend among police departments there are more open jobs for police officers then 20 years ago.

"It's been a challenge to get people interested in law enforcement to get them to apply to our agency. There are fewer and fewer applicants for police jobs today," explained Chief Ben Bliven, Wausau Police Department.

"I owe it to my officers to make sure I am hiring the absolute best and I don't want to lower standards to do that," said Chief Dan Ault, Plover Police Department.

With the growth of social media and body cameras the demands of the job have changed. Chief Bliven says what's good for transparency may scare some applicants away. "Not only do we have to know everything about everything but we have to be able to know those things and execute at a very high percentage," explained Chief Bliven.

The overnight shifts and long hours can be tough and many new officers are looking for time off instead of overtime. "We have evolved with scheduling, with accommodating personnel needs now more then 20 years ago," said Chief Ault.

Rather than hiring when there's an opening now most departments are accepting applications on an on-going basis. "We currently are accepting applications year round we let those applications build up until we do a recruitment a couple of times of year," said Patrol Captain Todd Baeten, Wausau Police Department.

The common thing departments look for in candidates is integrity. "We hire for character and we train for skills. I think if somebody just has the right character and a willing heart and they are teachable. That is someone we want to make part of our team," said Baeten.

No matter what the job does not change. "We don't get paid for what we do but we get paid for what we are willing to do. I want that to be the theme among all police officers and that is to make the difference, change the world and make it a safer place," said Chief Ault.

Wausau and Plover Police Departments are hiring right now along with many others in our area. They are encouraging anyone who is interested or even thinking about it to reach out.