Duluth Police Union Shows Problems Recruiting Police Officers
The Duluth Police Local 807 union recently posted a troubling message on their Facebook. The goal was to be transparent with the city and the public about the current lack of applicants for the City of Duluth Police Department. Nationwide there is a crisis when it comes to retaining and recruiting police officers. Few people are choosing law enforcement as a career.
Becoming a police officer is less appealing to potential recruits with the current political environment and department scrutiny. More cops are retiring nationwide and police hirings are down 5%. NPR has reported that many departments are struggling to be fully staffed.
The same is true locally, according to Duluth Police Local 807. Last month they posted that on a certain night they were only able to staff 9 police officers in the city. The minimum staffing level used to be 12 officers on duty for the shift.
Now a month later they've shared another problem with recruiting Duluth police officers. The city's pay for police is less than most other cities in the state. You can dig into the report if you would like to compare wages.
Other law enforcement agencies across the state are struggling to staff their departments, so they are offering higher wages, large sign on bonuses, and better pay raise steps. Applicant numbers are down across all the cities from 2020 to 2021. Duluth had 93 applicants in 2020, and now only has had 38 applicants this year. Duluth's 2021 applicants are about 50% less than other cities, if not more.
Duluth Police Local 807 urges the city to adjust wages and "adapt to the current climate surrounding our profession." As they put it, just like in business you get what you pay for. They urge the city to look at finding incentives to keep cops here, and bring more recruits to Duluth.