There’s a police officer shortage in Macomb, as the city continues its efforts to recruit new officers.
Officers come and go more than what the chief could like to see at the Macomb Police Department. That can impact response times, mainly with non-emergency calls–like small traffic crashes. That why they’re always looking to recruit.
"Since I’ve been here, I’ve seen more retirements also, officers going full time for military," MPD Patrol Officer Denise Cramer said. "I’ve seen some where their wives have been hired on away from here, so they end up going that route."
Cramer is in her 10th year as a patrol officer at the Macomb Police Department, a tenure that is rare nowadays, as officers coming and going, is now the norm.
"We have the Western Illinois University here, obviously turnover comes with that, because this would be your first stepping stone."
But the problem doesn’t end there.
"We usually have, for our attrition rate, it’s usually two to, it’s been all the way up to four officers per year, leave the department," MPD Chief of Police Curt Barker said.
Barker said it’s all about quality over quantity. When hiring new officers, it often comes down to the 16-week specialized training program that Macomb requires.
"It’s a very, very strict program," Barker said. "They have to meet certain standards in over to move on through the program, and if they don’t, then we let them go."
After receiving a Tier Two accreditation honor, shared with just 13 other departments in the state this week, Barker said they don’t just recruit anyone, which is why they don’t take in transfers.
"We’d rather go out and be able to recruit the officers that we want, bring them back to the department and train them the way we want to train them," Barker said.
For Cramer, it’s not a bad thing.
"It just adds more diversity and variety for us, because we get a fluctuation of people that come in here," Cramer said.
Right now, there are 24 sworn officers at the Macomb Police Department. But with the quick turnover they’ve seen recently, they are always looking for more to begin the training process.