Broadcast on WLOS, News 13 (Nov. 3, 2021)
Several local law enforcement agencies attended a recruitment event at Asheville–Buncombe Technical Community College on Wednesday.
“We are hiring as much as we possibly can right now, as many officers as we possibly can,” Asheville Police Officer Ann Aiken said.
“We’re short a few people, but we look for quality people,” Hendersonville Police Lt. Kenneth Hipps said.
Just this week, the Asheville Police Department reopened the lobby at its headquarters. The lobby been closed since May because of staffing shortages.
“We’re seeing across the state and even across the nation a decrease in interest in law enforcement,” A-B Tech Director of Law Enforcement Training Marty McNeely said.
A-B Tech offers the Basic Law Enforcement Training course, or BLET, which is required to become an officer in North Carolina.
“This course is designed to provide the student, the graduate, with the basic knowledge, skills and abilities that would allow them to function effectively as an inexperienced law enforcement officer in North Carolina,” McNeely said.
According to McNeely, A-B Tech is seeing declining enrollment numbers for the training course, which can lead to fewer applicants at local departments. Nineteen A-B Tech students will complete the training course Nov. 17. Another session will begin after the first of the year.
“Several programs in Western North Carolina didn’t even have enough student interest to hold classes, and we’re seeing similar challenges here,” McNeely said.
In hopes of boosting applications, the city of Hendersonville is offering a $4,500 signing bonus for city employees, including first responders.
“It might give us an edge over someone who is applying to a different agency,” Hipps said.
To learn more about A-B Tech’s Basic Law Enforcement Training program, click here.