Many of the towns,villages, and cities in southeastern New Mexico have police officer shortages. Tatum is the most noteworthy, once going over a year without ANY police officers to patrol their streets. Hobbs, Roswell, Vaughn(whose police chief had legal problems of his own), Carlsbad, and Artesia all struggle with maintaining a fully staffed police force.
Low pay is one of the problems and not being able to do your job without the media berating you publicly in the newspaper is another. This, of course, leads to low morale and a decreased likelihood of retaining police officers for lengthy careers. I think the citizenry of most small towns do NOT like a lot of turnover among the ranks of their policemen.
The following form titled Have you been the victim of a crime? was published in the general section of a small town newspaper in an apparent attempt to improve the manner in which the local police force conducts investigations and treats victims of crime. This police response survey asked about the officer’s attitude toward the victim as well as whether the police report was an accurate reflection of the incident.
I hope those who have been victimized and devastated by crime will take the time to fill out this form and mail it in. Also would be burglars, dope dealers, and other scofflaws might be deterred from future illegal activity knowing the city is on alert.
The following is a list of quotes compiled by Oliver Yates Libaw of ABC News regarding the depressing plight of our nation’s aspiring law enforcement officers:
- You don’t move up in a police department the way you would in a dot-com,” admits Chicago Police Department recruiter Patrick Camden.
- “You can get shot at for $40,000, or be home with your family for $60,000,” says Seattle police recruiter Jim Ritter.
- “The officers equate pay with respect,” says Gilbert Gallegos, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, a national association of rank-and-file officers. Many are reluctant to accept a lower salary they feel is less prestigious.
- Rick Baily, the city recruiter in Reno, Nev., where a new cop earns $34,000 a year, says he emphasizes the lower cost of living and less stressful work to prospective recruits, but he admits it can be difficult to convince them.
So the next time you get pulled over, please have some respect for that uniformed guy who is trying to make the streets and your community a little safer!