Skip to Content

Algood Police Struggling With Hiring and Retention Of Its Officers

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Algood Police Struggling With Hiring and Retention Of Its Officers

Algood City Police Chief Dale Armour said his department is in the midst of a hiring and retention crisis, with the potential to lose one-third of its current officers by December.

Armour said his staff could be reduced by four employees by the end of the year, if current employees get positions elsewhere they have applied for. The department already has one open position and only four applications.

“For them to be able to walk in here and a year from now, by the time they know what’s going on the streets as a police officer, another agency picks them up and takes them away from us, and then we’re starting that process all over again,” Armour said. “Because they are paying better somewhere else.”

Armour said the budget process will start in a couple months, and he will address his department’s pay scale with the City Council. However, he said the department would not be able to compete with Highway Patrol wages.

Armour estimated it costs between $35,000 to $45,000 to hire a new officer. That is the cost of sending them to the police academy, getting the uniform and equipment, and paying a field training officer to finish their training.

“A lot of people do not want to be in law enforcement,” Armour said. “I know when I started they used to tell us, I got a whole drawer of applications, if you don’t make it we’ll hire someone else. Well that’s not the case anymore. We want to make sure, well I do, I want to make sure I put the best employee I can on the street.”

Armour said he thinks the lack of new applications has to do with pay and media representation.

“I think a lot of it has to do with some of the stuff they’ve seen on television,” Armour said. “They’ve seen officers who’ve tried to do the right thing and some have done the wrong thing. What’s interesting to me if an officer does something wrong in Oregon, they paint everybody in the country with the same brush of whatever that officer done. I got guys and girls going out here everyday doing the right thing and that needs to be recognized, and we try to recognize that here.”

Armour said the Algood Police Department has great benefits, but people are looking for a higher wage. He said Tennessee Highway Patrol is starting out around $25,000 more a year than his department.

“Groceries are going up,” Armour said. “Gas prices are going up. An officer still has to feed his family, and people come into any job, whether its police department or working at one of the factories here, when you’re young and trying to by a house, trying to start a family and money’s an issue. And that’s something we see more and more, they don’t care about the benefits as much as they care about the money.”

Armour said the department just applied for a grant for retention where if an officer stays on with the department for more than five years they get a bonus from the State.

“I really believe when you work for an agency our size its a community thing,” Armour said. “Its not like you’re running the highway and seeing these people from all these other states like a trooper might. You’re dealing with the same people here, and they depend on you and know you, and you’re part of a bigger picture when you’re in a smaller town.”


The post Algood Police Struggling With Hiring and Retention Of Its Officers appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.