CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Employers from all over central North Carolina are seeing the struggles of staffing shortages and law enforcement sits high on that list.

Saturday the Cary Police Department helped spearhead a Wake County law enforcement job fair. The event featured more than a dozen municipal agencies that are all looking for qualified candidates to fill vacant spots.

You’ve heard it all year since the COVID-19 pandemic — the “great resignation.” The pandemic took a toll on law enforcement as more officers and deputies entered retirement or new career paths. People from all over the Triangle attended a career fair Saturday at Cary’s Herb Young Community Center.

Candidates like Keli Lloyd are looking for work after losing her job during the pandemic.

“I want to find a job that is really meaningful and fulfilling and something where I really feel like I’m helping other people,” she said.

Others are looking to transfer to a different career.

“Just exploring my options as I’m considering switching out of the military and fully dedicate myself to public service,” Manuel Rengifo said.

However, while other candidates were of interest to employers, it was 25-year-old Jordan Maith that kept the attention of a lot of recruiters in the room. His previous law enforcement career and a master’s degree in criminal justice are what made him a hot commodity.

“It’s encouraging to me because it’s like a kid in the candy shop right now. I’m trying to see what opportunities are best for me. Who’s going to be fair? Who’s going to care about me? And just overall, people that’s going to take care of me,” Maith said.

He said the job fair experience was overwhelming but it’s the calling to help others that makes him want to get back behind the badge.

“Each agency has different things. So everybody is different — that’s what caught my eye with every agency here,” Maith said.

“That’s exactly what we wanted. We were able to talk to many folks that wanted to come out and lead in their specific communities and hopefully Cary was one of their options,” said Sgt. Travis Gresham with Cary Police Department.

Right now the department is down 8 percent and they’re hoping events like this change that.

Gresham talked about what’s next after Saturdays job fair.

“Next for many of these candidates is their first initial interview with us, and we hope that they’re successful. Either they go on to basic law enforcement training schools or they start on the road, with some of field training officers,” Gresham said.

The Cary Police department currently has 16 vacancies. Based on recent reports Raleigh police have more than 100 vacancies. And they’re looking to fill these positions as soon as possible.