SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As the state’s efforts to combat COVID-19 increases, so has the need for law enforcement officers, who have been hit hard by the pandemic.
Now, the City of Springfield is experiencing fewer recruits for the police academy, according to Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
“I am absolutely worried about it. It’s of grave concern,” said Clapprood. “It’s a dangerous, difficult job, and you are constantly under pressure. It is not an easier job to do. It’s definitely a more difficult job. Even taking something as small of a problem as what might be in the community as dirt bikes. It frustrates the officers to no end.”
The police department is seeing just about 10 percent of what they typically receive in terms of police recruits. Commissioner Clapprood said between police reforms, new restrictions, a tarnished image, and the dangers of being an officer, fewer people are willing to take the oath of honor.
“The relationship between the Springfield community and the police department is a part of it,” said Springfield City Councilor Orlando Ramos. “There is still that mistrust.”
So far, there are only 49 applicants for the next police exam. Clapprood said around this time, they would normally see anywhere from 300 to 500 applicants.
According to Springfield Police Spokesperson Ryan Walsh, applications are still open until April 20 and testing begins in June.