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Lancaster County police departments to hold hiring event Tuesday

The event comes as police departments across the nation struggle to hire enough new officers to fill their thinning ranks.

MANHEIM, Pa. — The Lancaster County Hiring Consortium—made up of 20 police departments—is holding a hiring fair on Tuesday to find recruits for dozens of unfilled positions.

The event comes as police departments across the nation struggle to hire enough new officers to fill their thinning ranks.

A major factor behind the candidate shortage is low morale, especially after the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and negative attitudes toward police following the murder of George Floyd in 2020.

Since 2019, fewer new officers were hired even as more officers resigned or retired, according to a survey by the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

Applications to the Lancaster County Hiring Consortium are down 75% since this time last year, according to Elizabethtown Police Chief Ed Cunningham.

But 911 calls don’t stop coming in, even as police chiefs say the officer shortage does affect the services they provide.

“When we’re working short on personnel, that’s forcing us to use overtime to cover patrol shifts just to have a safe level of staffing, to have a safe number of officers out on the street,” Chief Cunningham said. 

Cunningham hopes to attract recruits who have historically been underrepresented in policing, such as women and minorities. To do that, he’s bringing officers to the fair to answer applicants’ questions and make them feel more comfortable applying. Officers will also offer advice on the physical test to become a police officer, and study guides will be available for the written test.

Most departments in the county have multiple openings, Cunningham said.

The hiring event is happening Aug. 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Lancaster County Public Safety Training Center. Applicants are asked to bring a photo ID.

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