LMPD sees huge drop in applications - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

LMPD sees huge drop in applications

(Source: WAVE 3 News) (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The number of applications to become a Louisville Metro Police Department officer have dropped by as much as 40 percent, according to numbers obtained from the department.

In 2012, there were 2,194 applications. Fast forward to 2016, that number dropped to 1,314.

"Our city and every city across the country post-Ferguson saw a big decrease in the number of people who are applying to be police officers," LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said during a recent forum.

"It's not cool right now to be a police officer," WAVE 3 News Safety and Security Expert D'Shawn Johnson said. "Officers are being tried and convicted in the court of public opinion," he continued. "People don't want to go through that scrutiny. A lot of people don't want to put their family through that scrutiny."

Johnson, a former officer, said add to that the inherent danger of the job, less than ideal pay and benefits - and you wind up with young adults - looking at other careers instead.

As of July 5, the department changed the standards to become an officer. Previously, applicants needed at least 60 college credit hours or military experience, but now that requirement has changed to allow those with a high school diploma or a GED to be eligible.

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"Our hope is that they're coming with good life experiences and we can train them to be good police officers," Conrad said.

The idea was also meant to open the opportunity to minorities who may not have a college education.

The effect? A recent surge in applications - 667 in the first six weeks of the change. LMPD said since the change there's been an influx in white male applicants - while they increase their efforts to attract women and minorities. 

"We have to tell people it's ok to be the police because you're not always going to be scrutinized, there are people out there who appreciate what you do and are thankful for what you do," Johnson said.

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