Police shortage impacting local communities

Local News

Whether in big cities or small towns, statistics show fewer people are entering the field of law enforcement.  

According to a recent federal report, between 2013 and 2016 the number of sworn peace officers, nationwide, fell by more than 23,000. South Sioux City Police Lieutenant Chris Chernock said it’s a problem.

“Now what we’re seeing across the country is a shortage of officer candidates that are available to fill these spots,” said Chernock.

Tuan Tran is the South Sioux City Police Department’s most recent hire. He said his academy class was smaller than most.

“It was 40 that was in my class that started and they were saying that normally they have 60-65 people, so I guess it was a lower class,” said Tran.

Thomas Ahlers is a student at Western Iowa Tech. He wants to be a police officer, someday. 

“I think why we have this shortage would be either because of all the negativity police officers get today, and it might make people fear to go out there and that as soon as you put on that badge you become a victim,” said Ahlers.

WIT Associate Dan Micheal Rohlena said the college experienced a drop in law enforcement students over the past few years. But, he says, those numbers are bouncing back. 

“There are lots of positions out there and so even as we are chatting with students they are outgoing lots of different places but I would hope with the increased enrollment we have that that shortage will ultimately diminish,” said Rohlena.

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