Monday, August 14, 2006

Texas Law Enforcement Wants You

Austin police department and other Texas law enforcement agencies desperately looking for recruits

By Joshunda Sanders
Monday, August 14, 2006

At 8 a.m. on a recent Friday morning, Ronald Brown and nine other Austin Police Department recruits took the physical agility test a second time.

Brown, 43, who moved to Round Rock from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, stretched nervously and eyed the competition — all of them younger than him — at Ojeda Junior High in Del Valle.

The months he took off after Katrina had given Brown some extra pounds to carry around the track, he said, but he'd worked for more than 10 years at the New Orleans Police Department and was ready to go back to law enforcement.

"It's good work," Brown said. "Pays good, too."

That may be true: A report released by a national police compensation consulting firm ranked Austin at the top of its list of 200 departments when cost of living was factored in.

But like other Texas agencies, the Austin department is struggling to fill its ranks as more officers retire or take lucrative offers elsewhere.

As they compete for recruits, agencies are raising pay and dangling fat signing bonuses.

The Texas Department of Public Safety raised troopers' salaries more than $100 per month and plans another raise in 2007. Houston now offers applicants from other Texas law enforcement agencies a $7,000 signing bonus. The Dallas Police Department has waived its requirement of a college degree for military members honorably discharged after serving four years and is offering a $10,000 signing bonus for new trainees.

"Poaching is too strong a word," said Dallas Deputy Chief Floyd Simpson, who is in charge of personnel and development. "But there is competition."

Last year, Simpson said, he tried to hire 250 officers but could find only 170 for the 3,166-officer department.

This is in all the ladies' restrooms at Minute Maid Park. I can only assume the mens' rooms are also designated recruitment stations!

It's not all about money, you know. I believe that good cops are "called" like good teachers and nurses and any of the other professions that need that little something extra to make it all worthwhile. It's a vocation as much as an occupation IMHO.


Anonymous said...

It gets pointed out regularly that our permissive society has been engaged in a war against the police for at least two generations. We tie their hands, expect them to work with less, and then get huffy when they don't solve every crime before it happened. People act a certain way around them (putting on the false mask of "oh, we like the police" when they are around but think they don't hear the negative comments as well).

Upon finding out a neighbor is a cop, the first questions involve either requests for assistance on a ticket, a lecture on what police are doing wrong, how many corrupt cops the person has run into (not the one they are telling of course), or how much they appreciate the job the officer is doing while saying that they'll fight any tax increase that comes their way.

Kids are more open about it, asking how many people you've shot and/or killed, but the almost amusing part is how the cop groupies seem to think they want to be openly identified while off duty (meet my pal, Deputy Joe; or by wearing items that will inevitably reflect on the friend as being a cop, increasing their chances of having to take police action at the risk of their career or personal safety).

The worse part of it is how ALL the major departments seem to be engaged in prolonged battles with the LEO's over the most ridiculous of matters, from tattoos, facial hair, or simply taking the attitude that if Tommy Turd complains on the officer, the officer should be held guilty until proven innocent (and the dept's go out of their way to keep that from happening).

Give it a few more years and when people get sick and tired of being victims (and no matter what you've been told, that CCW permit doesn't do a lot of good when a guy walks up behind you in the mall parking lot demanding your purse), maybe they'll realize that every action has consequences with the war on police being no exception to the rule.

TxGoodie said...

I don't think anyone INCLUDING LEOs likes to see their taxes going up, but it's not because they don't want to see the money used to hire more police or pay the ones already out there more, it's because God only know how much of our hard earned money is squandered by elected idiots. I don't care how much we pay in taxes, it's never enough. The more they get the more they waste. I'd pay more willingly if I KNEW it was going to Edie-approved projects! :-) I'm still waiting for them to tell me I don't have to pay tolls anymore because they paid off THAT bond. Yeah, right....

As for the way people react individually to a police person, OUCH I think you had ME in mind when you wrote that!! Mea culpa!