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Hiring for law enforcement jobs requires aggressive marketing and more pay

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Posted at 3:40 PM, Jun 23, 2021

Wayne County Sheriff Rafael Washington tells 7 Action News, young adults who want to make a difference can “come in and be that change that they want to see. The change that they talk about with us,” the Sheriff said.

At a job fair with both the Detroit Police Department and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, a Detroit Police Sergeant said, “we’d like to see thousands of people show up.” That’s not happening in this job market.

Nonetheless, one thing rings true. Homicide rates and gun-related arrests are still on the rise.

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"We must take our city back," a young Detroit man participating the job fair said.

By the numbers, the Wayne County Sheriff had no job applicants in April, eleven in May, and 26 this week because of new aggressive marketing. They have 150 position to fill.

“I think we do have to help ourselves with the salary," Wayne County Sheriff Raphael Washington said. "It is a tough job.”

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Low starting pay is a major factor detracting applicants from law enforcement and Sheriff Washington said being short staffed has forced many of his officers into overtime.

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“I think we do have to help ourselves with the salary. It is a tough job.”

Two weeks ago, the Wayne County Deputy Sheriff’s Association sounded the alarm about forced overtime because of a shortage of jail guards. Some are being forced to work 80 and even 100 hours a week. Union President Deputy Reginald Crawford also told 7 Action News Reporter Kimberly Craig—

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Deputy Bryant Searcy was killed inside the jail last year by an inmate.

Related links: Wayne County Deptuy Sheriff's Association sounds alarm on staffing shortages in jail

Marick Masters is Management Professor at The Wayne State University Mike Ilitch School of Business. He says raising salary rates is not easily done for local governments.

“There are serious budget constraints which constrain their ability to raise pay significantly. You can raise pay 10%, 15%, 20 % and that will make somewhat of a difference," he said.