‘This just didn’t happen overnight’: Albany police chief talks ‘social revolution’ in law enforcement

Albany police chief talks ‘social revolution’ in law enforcement

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Albany Police Department has hired more than 30 officers last year. Of those 30, only about half stayed.

Albany Police Chief Michael Persley said there are many different reasons for officers leaving.

Persley said part of the reason law enforcement around the world is having issues keeping officers is because of what he calls a “social revolution.”

He said this social revolution affects officers applying as well as keeping officers around.

“Across the nation, you saw from police chiefs, CEOs of law enforcement agencies, on down to their junior members that many of them who had some time in, they left,” said Persley.

He said a disinterest in law enforcement careers goes back years.

“This wasn’t just last year. I mean, you have to go back to as I call it the ‘social revolution,’ you have to go back to 2013-2014 timeframe. This just didn’t happen overnight,” said Persley.

Many people are uninterested in law enforcement because of the dangers that come along with it, the police chief said.

Persley said another reason is the lack of gratitude.

“Depending on what community you’re in, it can almost feel like a thankless job. Which it isn’t, but it can feel that way,” said Persley.

Persley said one of his favorite parts of the job is being able to help the community he serves. He said the most rewarding part is people coming back and thanking you.

Michael Persley is the chief of the Albany Police Department.
Michael Persley is the chief of the Albany Police Department. (Source: WALB)

“I had a victim of crime thank me for helping recover their stolen equipment. I found the person who had stolen it, and you know, I thought, ‘wow, I’d forgotten about it,’ but to them, it was a big honor,” Persley said.

Persley said they are seeking new officers and looking at ways to keep them.

“I tell applicants this is not the easiest job, but it’s the best time to be in law enforcement cause you’re right on the front lines of this social revolution,” said Persley.

The cut-off age to apply is 20-years-old, but Persley said if you’re at least 18, you can start working with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office to get your foot in the door.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Albany Police Department, click here.

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