DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — The Durham Police Department has more vacancies right now than they did this time last year, and law enforcement officials say it won’t get better overnight.
Leaders with the Fraternal Order of Police say pay increases and other benefits have helped recruit new officers in some departments across the country, but the Durham Police Department is still facing over 100 vacancies in the department.
Right now, there are 111 sworn officer vacancies in the department. At this time last year, there were 98 vacancies.
Within the last year, the department has not increased base pay for officers but they have increased hiring bonuses and started offering other benefits, including take home cars.
Larry Smith with the Durham Fraternal Order of Police says departments may continue to see a challenge in recruiting new officers.
“I think still some of the climate that’s happening, I think you have less and less officers and less and less young people want to come into the profession because of what’s happened over the last few years,” Smith said. “You can’t change that overnight. It takes many, many months to try and fully train a police officer to get them in or get them in a car by themselves.”
Members of the FOP say they’re heading to Washington, D.C. soon to talk about hiring challenges within police departments nationwide and push for more incentives for officers.