CLAYTON, Mo. – Police leaders in St. Louis County are considering hiring officers without previous police or military experience as it becomes harder to fill openings.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that Chief Jon Belmar told the board it is “broadening” opportunities, “not lowering” standards.
Recruitment has become a challenge because of the challenge of the job and an ever-present microscope on police behavior. Despite a tax increase that was used to boost salaries, the department remains 58 shy of its authorized strength of 857 officers.
Belmar’s proposed changes to recruitment rules would essentially allow the department to consider civilian applicants. Belmar says, “It’s just not the same pool in 2019 as it was in 1989.”
He is expected to make a formal proposal to the police board at its next monthly meeting.