SYLVESTER, GA (WALB) - Law enforcement agencies across South Georgia are having unprecedented difficulty recruiting men and women to serve their communities. They say it's a problem nationwide.
With recent police killings and violence against police the Sylvester police chief and the Worth County sheriff say that convincing folks to join law enforcement is a more difficult task than ever before.
Misti Benson joined the Sylvester Police Department yesterday. After spending a year out of law enforcement, she's back and ready to serve.
"I just, I love what I do. What I come in the job for is to help people, to protect people. And it's something that I'm passionate about. It's something that I love doing."
Benson says all officers need that passion to be good law enforcers. But as Sylvester Police Chief Robert Jennings explains... it's hard finding passionate potentials when so few people are interested in law enforcement careers.
"We've always had plenty of applications, plenty of people applying. It was just a matter of sorting out good people to hire. Right now, we're not seeing the applications come in like we used to. Not here, and other places I know aren't either," said Chief Jennings.
It's a problem Worth County Sheriff Jeff Hobby is struggling with as well. He's trying to fill jailer positions. But after five police officers were shot and killed during a protest spurred by the recent killings of black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, many potential applicants are hesitant.
"You got good quality people that are not wanting to get in this line of profession. It's really a shame," said Hobby.
With low pay and harsh scrutiny over every move an officer makes, Officer Benson says it clouds folks' perception of officers.
"It doesn't matter what you do in your life, you're always going to have somebody judging you, you're always going to have somebody saying something negative about you. And if it's something that you want to do, something that you're passionate about, don't let fear step in your way," Benson said.
Call the Sylvester Police Department at 776-8500 or the Worth County Sheriff's Office at 776-8211 to apply.