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HELP WANTED: Carlisle police struggling with recruitment

CARLISLE, Pa. – It’s a problem across the country; difficulty recruiting of police officers and other emergency responders, and it’s being fel...
Screen Shot 2019-10-01 at 5.35.17 PM
CARLISLE, Pa. - It's a problem across the country; difficulty recruiting of police officers and other emergency responders, and it's being felt here at home.

FOX43 sat in on Carlisle Police Department's training, to see what they are up against inside and outside the walls of their department.

"Alright we'll get started there's going to be some other folks showing up," Sgt. David Miller, said.

It's Tuesday morning, and the classroom at the Carlisle Police Department has some empty seats.

"We're not here for the glory," Sgt. Miller said. "We're not here for the idea of being able to arrest people. We're here for the victims."

The students; many of them seasoned police officers. What they're learning, rather, brushing up on, is active shooter training.

"A lot of this stuff will be old hat for some of you," Sgt. Miller said. "But again some it may be new."

But the problem  isn't teaching old dogs, new tricks. It's having the dogs to train. Carlisle Police Chief Taro Landis said, like the national trend, their numbers are low.

"We are short some police officers," Chief Landis said.

He can't reveal how many. The reason? Retirement, a shift in culture, other unknown reasons. But make no mistake, the Carlisle Police Fepartment isn't struggling to provide a service. The pool of new officers to choose from is just smaller.

"We're looking for a certain caliber of person," Chief Landis said. "With the right characteristics. We ask the police to do a lot of things that they may not necessarily be trained for."

Inside the old McCann school of business building, they held their active assailant response training. The building was vacant, resembling a school or office-type environment.

"They may go this way they may go that way," Sgt. Miller said. "He's going to confuse them by going back and forth and sending the echoes down the two different hallways so they're going to have to try to figure that out."

It's one of the skills they can train for, though, they pray they never have to use it.

"It's a thinking man's game," Sgt. Adolfo Heredia, a patrol officer, said. "You have to work your way through different problems as you encounter them."

The communication, movements, equipment, training are all based on lessons learned. Something they hope officer-hopefuls will take away, too .

"This job is great," Chief Landis said. "And a chance to get out and help people and talk to people and meet people from all walks of life."

"We have the basic needs that we can fulfill for the community but then we want to build on that," Sgt. Miller said. "And we're only able to build on that as we have the officers available to do it."

Testing for the Carlisle Police Department begins October 20th.

To become a police officer, you're only required to have a high school diploma. You also have to pass a written test and a physical agility evaluation, then interview before a panel made up of members of the police department. Some departments will send cadets to the police academy.