Courtesy of Maine Criminal Justice Academy | Star-Herald
March 27, 2018 11:18 am

The Portland Police Department was in the news last week after it said it would consider hiring non-citizens and recent marijuana users to fill vacancies in the state’s largest municipal police force. It was the latest announcement from a police department struggling to hire officers.

The department has also tapped a current officer to work as a full-time recruiter and offers a $10,000 signing bonus. Still, it currently has 16 vacancies.

This is a problem not just for Portland or Maine but the country in general. Nearly four in five departments nationally reported that a shortage of qualified candidates has made filling vacancies difficult, a 2010 RAND study found.

There are currently 32 job listings on the state’s Criminal Justice Academy jobs website. Some departments are seeking multiple officers and some posting have been online since last summer.

Lower standards and financial incentives may help Portland and other cities hire new officers, but a fundamental problem remains unaddressed. Law enforcement officers and other first responders have become de facto mental health counselors and substance

Article source: https://bangordailynews.com/2018/03/27/opinion/editorials/investments-in-mental-health-and-addiction-treatment-can-help-police-shortage/