Colorado Springs

CO police agencies recruiting veterans, tackling staff shortages

CO police agencies recruiting...

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Recruiting police officers is no easy task. There are shortages across the country, including in Colorado.

Nearly 20 agencies from across the state spent Wednesday in Colorado Springs recruiting officers at the Mt. Carmel Center of Excellence of Colorado.

Colorado has more than 12,000 police officers, but the number is diminishing.

"It's been a dangerous few years for law enforcement," said Sgt. Charles Harrington, with the El Paso County Sheriff's Department.

Sgt. Harrington keeps a close eye on new prospects.

"I've been checking the polls of law enforcement recruiting from coast to coast there has been a shortfall on applications," he said.

In Colorado Springs, the city is understaffed by 50 officers.

Police agencies we spoke with attributed the nationwide shortage to several factors.

"There's been places and situations that have shed a negative light on law enforcement," said Llt. Tommy Coates, with the Fountain Police Department.

Coates added that the process itself isn't easy.

"There's a lengthy vetting process that goes though and that's for all the right reasons. It's a tough profession, you do see a lot, you carry it with you so it takes special people in this profession and willingness to serve," he said.

Wednesday's event aimed to recruit veterans.

"Ever since I was young, I wanted to do two things: join the army and serve as a police officer," said Eric Fan, a U.S. Army veteran.

Fan added he knows it won't be easy.

"Every job has its negative aspects, but I think the biggest part of being law enforcement, especially today, is understanding the community," he said.

Agencies said their biggest fear is shortages affecting response times. That's why they not only want new recruits, they're needed if departments are going to continue to protect and serve.

Colorado Springs police plan on hiring additional officers at their police academy next summer.

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