ALBANY, GA (WALB) - Albany's Police Chief Michael Persley addressed current issues with recruiting and retaining officers in his department.
It's a problem law enforcement agencies across the nation are experiencing, as we speak.
Chief Persley said his department is continuing to combat crime, even with several vacancies.
Right now, the Albany Police Department said its main concern is filling vacant patrol officer positions.
Those officers are the ones you see out on the streets, in the neighborhoods, serving and protecting.
But along with those vacancies, the department has some tough supervisor positions to fill as well.
"This is not an easy job," said Persley. "As a matter of fact, we deal with the ills of society more than we deal with the good things in society."
Persley said this job isn't for everyone.
"And everyone who thinks they want to be a police officer, once they find out the true realities of it, quickly find out that this is not what they want to do," Persley explained.
But that's not the only problem the Albany Police Department is facing when it comes to retention.
"I've had some sergeants and lieutenants who have gotten jobs elsewhere," said Persley. "I have a lieutenant who is now a captain with the Cordele Police Department. I have a sergeant who now works for the state with the crisis intervention. I have a lieutenant who is going to work with the Homeland Security. Those are some tough vacancies to fill because I can only do those through assessments and promotions."
But Persley said his priority is recruiting people to fill the entry-level vacancies like patrol officers.
The chief said he has around 12 entry level vacancies right now, not including the eight officers he just hired. He said the shortage doesn't necessarily have an impact on combating crimes because they're able to pull resources from within the agency to assist with certain incidents.
"With 21 homicides, with all but one that we don't have a person in jail or a suspect, but the others either have a person in jail or a suspect," Chief Persley said. "That's almost 100 percent clearance rate. That's pretty good."
Persley said his goal is to recruit and retain quality officers and doesn't put so much focus on the numbers.
"Overall what we look at is how well are we providing a service to our people. Now, are my people tired? They are, because they work hard every day. I encourage them, I support them, I ask the community to support them also. And as always, we need the community's help every way we can," explained Persley.
The chief also asks the community, that anybody who knows someone that would make a good officer, have them come in and apply.
Persley said knowing you're serving your community is a great reward.
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