Where are all the police recruits? Cannabis Is Keeping Them Away, Police Chiefs and Portlanders Have an Idea

The shortage of sworn law enforcement officers is widespread across the country. This is especially important in Portland, Oregon and it is not an issue of budget. In fact, there is a lot of money to go around; The police bureau’s 2022 budget is substantial ($249 million) to hire recruits at $65,000, including a $5,000 starting bonus. There just aren’t enough takers.

Although police shortages vary from state to state, the trend is clear: law enforcement agencies are struggling to fill their positions. A 2021 Statista report confirmed that the country’s 660,288 full-time police officers are down nearly 50,000 from 2013. The National Police Support Fund calls the recruitment shortfall “deep and complex”.

Is drug testing partly to blame?

To join Portland’s Police Bureau (PPB), an applicant must not have consumed any cannabis products for one full year prior to applying. “Even though marijuana is legal in Oregon and some states, it is still a federally controlled substance that is illegal to possess or use,” per. PPB Website,

What is to be done? Portlanders Have an Idea

Suggested an op-ed in Portland’s Willamette Week, “Let the police do what other Oregonians have been doing legally for years: Stop work, flop on the couch and smoke a J.”

After all, it would not be the first state in the union to do so.

in New Jersey, Police can consume cannabis Without penalty while out of a job.

In contrast, the New York City Police are strictly prohibited To consume even when off duty. However, police recruits are not automatically disqualified for prior pot use.

The same goes for New Orleans where a one-year look-back on weed consumption for recruits was dropped in September. By the way, the situation in NOLA is dramatic: Since the pandemic began, the police department has dropped below 1,000 cops for the first time in decades.

Seriously, what’s to be done? What does the superintendent of police say

With drug testing and restrictions on cannabis users shrinking the pool of recruits and police officers retiring faster than departments, the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) is sounding the alarm.

“At a time when the importance of officer mental wellness is more widely recognized, powerful efforts to recruit, recruit and retain officers become increasingly important,” the IACP said in a statement. recent survey, “Law enforcement agencies need to make thoughtful modifications to recruiting and hiring practices without lowering the standards for officers that their peers and communities have come to expect.”

Innovations in recruitment include relaxing candidate disqualification, According to the IACP report, “Due to a shift in culture among younger generations, some agencies believe that outdated policies have become a hindrance to recruitment.”

“Other agencies no longer disqualify candidates for certain instances of past drug use, even as some choose not to address it with candidates at all.”

Portlanders and the police chief may finally see eye to eye on this issue.

Photo: Courtesy of Portland Police Bureau

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