Recruit Shortage Has Area Police Seek Help Elsewhere

New recruits are hard to come by for law enforcement agencies across the Texas panhandle.  One area police captain tells us the situation is pretty bad.

Agencies we spoke with agree they're dealing with the same small pool of applicants.   Between trying to get the word out more to potential recruits, to paying their way they're even trying to make up the difference by counting on civilians.

Panhandle police forces want more recruits like Justin Farmer, and he knows how to find them.  If more agencies would pay for recruits,  I think they would have a lot more recruits, he says.  The Borger police office is covering farmer's academy tuition, giving him a salary and transportation.   But that's not all they're doing to counter the shortage.  Police stations like Borger's are counting on civilians for help.

"Our property and evidence is now run by a civilian. So we took that off the police officer and a civilian takes care of that," says Captain Bruce Roberts.  He adds the force will also hand out a fifteen hundred dollar bonus to officers who bring in new recruits themselves.

In Farmer's class, recruits go fast. Half of our academy is already spoken for, says Farmer.  Captain Roberts says paying higher salaries would go a long way toward raising recruitment levels at police departments across the panhandle.