by Carlos Pedraza
The Cal Poly Police Department has a total of eight vacant spots in its organizations: two administrative, three dispatchers, one officer, and two sergeants. The CPD has enough staff to work all necessary operations, but this significant gap in positions and recruitments is now common throughout the nation.
Sergeant Chance Carpenter has noticed fewer people willing to become officers. The College of the Redwood police academy has also had lower recruitment.
“When I went to an academy in 2006, approximately 27-28 graduated from that police academy,” Carpenter said. He explained how the current number of graduates has dropped to only twelve at an academy that once graduated over double the members yearly. Carpenter added most law enforcement is having staffing issues, not just the ones in Humboldt. Speaking of his feelings, Carpenter feels some portion of society is less supportive of law enforcement.
Black Lives Matter protests and reaction to police violence changed the public opinion on policing. A recent Black History Month protest in the Arcata Plaza articulated community concerns regarding police officers.
“I think society should always be critical of professionals that offer services,” said Carpenter in response to questions about the change in the public view of police. Carpenter explained in his view that law enforcement should be invested in their communities and positive changes in policing should be supportive.
There is still a disconnect between students and the CPD despite Carpenter’s hopeful sentiment. Cal Poly Humboldt freshman Elaina Wargala expressed her feelings about law enforcement.
“I think that a portion of society may be less appreciative of the work law enforcement does,” said Wargala. She expressed her own discomfort with law enforcement in general.
“I think a lot of people take advantage of their position,” Wargala said.
The disconnect between campus law enforcement and the student body makes it difficult to maintain staff and even harder to hire new staff. Despite the high number of vacant positions, the CPD has still been able to maintain operations successfully.
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