ERIE, Pa. (WJET/WFXP/YourErie.com) — Governor Josh Shapiro made a stop in North East Thursday to discuss how to convince more people to become police officers.
Local law enforcement voiced their concerns on the decreasing number of applicants over the last few years.
Erie law enforcement explained that the numbers of candidates are continuing to decline, but Governor Shapiro is offering a solution in his proposed budget.
Governor Shapiro said he fundamentally believes all Pennsylvanians have the right to be and feel protected in their communities, while discussing the shortage of police officers across the commonwealth.
Watch the full video below — PA Cast: Governor Josh Shapiro Shares Plans to Recruit More Municipal Police Officers at Mercyhurst Municipal Police Academy in Erie:
Local law enforcement reacted to the shortage, saying in the City of Erie they are also being impacted.
“Just in the past three years, our list went from ninety possible candidates to seventy-three to this year’s forty-six,” said Dan Spizarny, Erie Police Chief.
But the shortage is not just impacting police officers; state troopers are also being affected.
“In the 1990s, every year, every time there was a class, PSP got ten thousand people applying for that class of recruits. Today, they get just one thousand applicants for those same classes,” said Josh Shapiro, D, Governor of Pennsylvania.
The governor says now is the time to address the issue as he offers a solution in his proposed budget.
“By creating for the first time ever a state tax credit of up to twenty five hundred dollars each year for at least the next three years of money, that will go directly back into your pockets upon your certification as a new state police officer,” said Gov. Shapiro.
Erie Police Chief Dan Spizarny says candidates available over the recent years have decreased and this should help replenish the rosters.
“We’re reaching a critical time. We’re concerned. We need help. We’re glad the governor’s here, helping,” said Dan Spizarny, Erie Police Chief.
Chief Spizarny says the Erie Police Department has a compliment of 194 sworn officers. Right now they are down approximately 15.