DETROIT (WJBK) - There are thousands of law enforcement jobs open all over the state, 4,000 to be exact, and many of those openings are right here in metro Detroit. So why are they still open?
Local departments can't fill the slots. Wayne County Sheriff's Chief Robert Dunlop said he's at a loss.
"I really haven't figured that out yet," Dunlop said. "People don't seem to be really interested in going into the field of law enforcement or corrections"
According to the Michigan commission on law-enforcement standards, there's about 4000 vacant police officer jobs in the state. Why are these jobs open and why aren't they being filled?
"Every time you look on the media there's something negative about something the police are doing as opposed to the many good things that the young men and women do here every day on an average of 16 hours a day," Dunlop said.
Wayne County Sheriff has about 100 vacancies while Detroit Police said they have 200 positions available now. The requirements to be a police officer are roughly the same in each city or county: you have to be 18, a U.S. citizen, have good eyes or wear glasses, be a good driver, have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and no trouble with the law.
"I don't know if it's just media. I think it's just public perception based upon TV. I'm certainly not blaming the media but the other side of it is, you gotta look at what's in it in terms of long-term benefits," Dunlop said.
Benefits? Starting pay for Detroit police officer is about $36,000 a year - with benefits - and it could be more in other cities. Detroit is trying to find innovative ways to recruit officers.
"You know about the video. It's got almost 9 million views. Our phones have been ringing from young people who have said I want to become part of the Detroit Police Department because they're just like me," Detroit Police Chief James Craig said.
Now we're not saying very police department should start dancing, but the chief says that people just want honest cops and maybe then they will become honest cops.
"They want to know that if you make a mistake, own it, take responsibility for it and they want to know what are you going to do to improve upon it," Craig said.