SANTA CRUZ, Calif. -- More officers could be out on the streets, but some police departments said they're just not getting enough qualified candidates.
Even though departments in Santa Cruz and Salinas are understaffed, they said taking a chance on many of the candidates could cost them later.
"A lot of people just have a lack of life skills," said Deputy Chief Steve Clark of Santa Cruz Police. "We have a lot of people who haven't ever really experienced anything outside of living in mom and dad's house."
That's why Deputy Chief Steve Clark said although Santa Cruz needs more officers and there's interest out there, positions aren't being filled. He said he looks for people with extremely good problem solving and critical thinking skills to be able to do well in Santa Cruz, and he's not seeing a lot of that.
"There's just a huge amount of information that they have to absorb, keep and retain. Just because they make it through the Academy doesn't mean they will make it through the field training program in the department," he said.
Santa Cruz is down 10 officers. Out of 269 applicants it received to recruit young rookies and bring them up into the profession, most of them were weeded out.
"I'm down to nine candidates out of that 269 that I currently have in the background of Investigations, so we'll see how they fare through the rest of the background process," Deputy Chief Clark said.
Salinas is seeing some of the same challenges. Last time it hired new recruits, only two of them were hired out of 88 applicants. For lateral movies, only one was hired out of 85. And for the 12 trainees who went through the Academy, only five of them were hired.
Santa Cruz is in a position to hire, but cities like Salinas don't have the money to do so. When it does, most candidates end up not making the cut.
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:14 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:14:07 GMT
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