Steady decrease in ideal Kansas law enforcement candidates, social media partly to blame

HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) – Fewer people are wanting to join the ranks of law enforcement. It’s a trend departments are seeing not only here in Kansas but across the country.

With a high turnover rate, and less applicants than ever before, it makes it difficult for agencies to fill the empty positions.

“They’re not getting the number of candidates that they used to,” Ed Pavey, Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center director.

It’s a new reality Kansas law enforcement agencies say they are facing.

“Extremely frustrating. We are in a constantly hiring mode. Every time we end a hiring process, we start another one up right behind it,” Capt. Troy Hoover, Hutchinson Police Dept.

Authorities believe the lack of candidates could partly be because of what they call an unjust stigma placed on them.

“An individual has to ask themselves; why do I want to be a police officer in today’s environment and being second guessed every time I make a decision?,” explained Pavey.

There are 436 agencies in the state that employ almost 8,000 officers. Right now, there are 132 new officers being trained at the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.

Though that number seems steady now, over the last couple of years many departments have seen a high turnover rate, and a lack of qualified candidates able to fill those positions and, social media could be to blame.

”The candidates that they are getting, once they start the initial background process they discover things in their backgrounds and maybe on their social media sites,” said Pavey.

Now a days, just about everyone has some type of social media account, maybe even multiple ones.

“The Hutchinson Police Department has not lowered our standards, if we had, we’d still have plenty of people to choose from,” stated Hoover.

Captain Hoover says they’re down 13 officers and continue to look for candidates with integrity.

”If we find information or pictures, or statements on someone’s personal Facebook page that doesn’t appear to be ethically sound or inappropriate that a lot of times will eliminate someone from furthering in the process,” Hoover explained.

Departments advise recruits or anyone wanting to get into law enforcement to stay off social media completely.


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