Colorado law enforcement agencies continue facing hiring challenges

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DENVER — The “great resignation” and “staffing shortages” are phrases we’ve heard for months. Nearly every field has been impacted, including law enforcement.

That’s why the Lakewood Police Department organized a Law Enforcement Expo, bringing together 36 agencies from across the state at the Southwest Plaza, with booths open to anyone and everyone interested in a law enforcement job.

“It’s been a little tougher, for sure,” Lakewood Sgt. Brian Lovejoy said about hiring new talent.

Filling positions hasn’t been any easier at the Aurora Police Department.

“You know, it’s challenging,” said Abdul Syidi, a recruiting officer with the Aurora Police Department.

Over at the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, it’s a similar deal.

“We are all struggling,” said Betty F. Wright with the sheriff’s office.

Here’s the breakdown of the situation at each of these agencies.

  • The Aurora Police Department currently has 707 officers, including recruits. It’s authorized to have 744 sworn officers
  • Over in Lakewood, the police department has about 280 officers, and could use an additional 20
  • The Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office has a bigger hole to fill, with 60 positions open

“I think we need really good people, right now. We need women, we need diversity, we really want to be a better reflection of our community,” said Mary Fernandez with the Aurora Police Department.

In Aurora, those really good people are really needed right now. In 2019, 52 officers left Aurora PD. Of those, 37 resigned, 14 retired and one was terminated. In 2020, 87 officers left APD — 31 resigned, 43 retired, nine were terminated, three were transferred and one died.

Last year, the department lost 126 officers — 66 resigned, 50 retired, five were terminated, one died and four were transferred.

Finally, so far this year, the department has lost 10 on the force. Three resigned, five retired, one died and one transferred.

Although policing may be a tough job these days — Sgt. Lovejoy said people usually call law enforcement on the worst day of their lives — those currently doing it will tell you it’s worth it.

“There’s the tactical side, there’s the problem-solving side, there’s the investigative side, there’s the traffic side — there’s a lot of different variety,” Sgt. Lovejoy said.

Law enforcement job fairs like the one held Wednesday at Southwest Plaza can be a start toward bringing in the best and the brightest.

If you’re interested in job opportunities with the Lakewood Police Department, click here.

More information on career opportunities with the Aurora Police Department can be found here.

Information on openings within the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office can be found here, or you can get more information at a job fair being hosted by the ACSO on Tuesday, March 29 and its headquarters between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.