CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Concord Police Department faces the same challenge as other departments in the area – recruitment. Training enrollment, officers say, is down state-wide.
“It’s a very competitive, limited pool of individuals that want to get into law enforcement,” Chief Gary Gacek says.
But Wednesday night, he addressed a packed room of potential recruits at the department’s open house.
“There’s a whole lot we have going on in this police department for the purpose of building and developing legitimacy in the community and trust between the community and the police,” he told the crowd.
For these potential candidates, Gacek offered a reality check.
“If you get into law enforcement, you’re going to see the worst people, and people at their worst,” he said. “I need my officers to understand there’s a different between those two.”
The group got a tour of all of Concord’s departments, each person in the group giving a different reason for being there.
“Me being 24, and I know the race card, but being black, I want to show that you can be in that position to be a cop,” Raheim Murray said.
“People are misunderstood, and I always want people to know there’s always going to be someone there for you,” Michala Wright said.
Concord says it has 13 officer vacancies soon to be filled, but it is planning for others to leave in the next six to 12 months. The strategy now includes marketing those jobs better than surrounding areas, and appealing to those out there who still want to sign up.
“It’s a hard climate to be a cop nowadays,” potential candidate Aaron Anzur says. “It’s a higher purpose at some point, you go out and want to help others.”
The goal for the department is to have candidates signed up for basic training in February.