(WHTM) — abc27 reported about the concern at police departments across the country: they cannot recruit enough officers.
Now, Governor Shapiro is getting involved here in Pennsylvania, saying something has to change.
“We’re extremely concerned with what the future holds”, said Erie Bureau of Police Chief Dan Spizamy.
Governor Shapiro met with cadets and officers of Mercyhurst Municipal Police Academy in northwestern Pennsylvania to talk about his plans to recruit more police officers in the Commonwealth.
“I believe fundamentally Pennsylvanians have a right to both be safe and feel safe that means having enough police officers to patrol our communities,” said Shapiro.
The last three years have seen a sharp decline in the number of officers joining the force. In 2021, this academy had 90 cadets. That dropped to 73 in 2022 and just 46 this year, with 26 agencies choosing among them.
“I personally believe that we may have only 30 some candidates by next year’s list,” said Spizamy.
Shapiro’s budget calls for a $2,500 tax credit for all new police recruits for the next three years, similar to a credit he wants for nurses and teachers. The plan would also boost wages for dispatchers.
“We’re doing this for a couple of reasons. Number one because we want to have more money in your pocket to complement the resources that are put in the pocket from your local police department, we’re also doing it because we want to send a strong message, not just to the cadets here, but to every single person across Pennsylvania that we believe policing is a noble profession and that we want to invest,” said Shapiro.
Shapiro says there aren’t nearly enough municipal police officers in Pennsylvania and he’s tired of it.
“And so, it’s the time right now for the commonwealth to put our money where our mouth is. To step up and support policing,” said Shapiro.