Police need more people to step up

Marietta Police Chief Rodney Hupp has a lot on his mind these days, including the shrinking pool of people willing (and able) to become recruits.

“We’re in a cycle in this society where people just don’t want this work, they’re not interested,” he said. “It’s not only in law enforcement, there are societal pressures in other areas. The military is confronted with the same situation.”

It seems as well that not all who are interested are then able to meet the requirements.

Too few people signed up for the spring session Police Officer Basic Academy at Washington State Community College. Among the reasons the session had to be canceled was that only two people were able to pass the pre-academy test.

Anti-police sentiment may, indeed, have something to do with the change, as John Burdette, director of Center for Public Safety Training said. But something else is going on here. Appalachia has traditionally been fruitful ground for those seeking hard-working, brave, upright young men and women willing to serve others.

That may be changing; and if it is, that is a shame.

“I have got at least three retirements coming up in the next year and a half, and it will be back to the drawing board for the next round, and there’s nothing out there telling me it will be any better,” Hupp said.

Parents are sometimes reluctant to encourage a child to pursue a career that is difficult and can be dangerous. That is understandable. But they should not be discouraging it, either. And school counselors, some of whom have gotten used to suggesting students pursue a relatively limited set of careers, should be certain they are reminding ALL students to consider law enforcement or military options as well.

Mid-Ohio Valley residents are grateful for those who, even as the workload increases, are still willing to protect and serve. It’s about time they got some backup.