Worker shortage has Metro Detroit police departments ramping up recruitment efforts

Sterling Heights Police Department among many facing staff shortages

Amid an ongoing national worker shortage, police departments are also struggling with hiring new officers. One Metro Detroit police department is ramping up their recruitment efforts in response.

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – Local police departments are not immune to the massive worker shortage stinging businesses and organizations nationwide.

Police departments across Metro Detroit are facing a shortage of officers, and are looking to hire right away.

“There’s definitely a crunch with hiring police officers and getting our departments fully staffed,” said Sterling Heights Police Chief Dale Dwojakowski. “At a certain point, if you can’t staff a police department, there are going to be problems down the road.”

Right now, the Sterling Heights Police Department is down three officers. Come January, they’ll need seven more.

In the meantime, officials say officers will have to pull back on proactive policing.

“A reactive police department is just literally going to 911 calls,” Dwojakowski said. “What you want your offers doing is going behind those buildings, commercial areas, cruising those subdivision streets at night, looking for trouble. But if you’re always on a run and the second you clear the run you’re going to another one, you’re not doing the proactive policing.”

Related: Henry Ford Health looking overseas for nurses to address staffing shortage

Officials in Sterling Heights and across the region can’t figure out why the applicant numbers have dropped so much.

Of course, some people have decided police work isn’t for them. But in Sterling Heights, pay tops out at $90,000, and that’s before overtime.

Dwojakowski’s police department offers a pension, and he says someone could retire at age 51 with their pension. He also says that officers have the opportunity to take on several different roles, even all at once, within the department and their community.

In an effort to recruit more officers, the Sterling Heights Police Department has been utilizing their own recruitment team and have been sending them across the state. Dwojakowski says the department is being represented at tons of job fairs, churches and even at high schools.

But until the police department can find enough qualified candidates, they have to modify their day-to-day operations.

See the full report in the video above.

Related: Kym Worthy reacts to major staff shortage at Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office

About the Author:

Nick joined the Local 4 team in February of 2015. Prior to that he spent 6 years in Sacramento covering a long list of big stories including wildfires and earthquakes. Raised in Sterling Heights, he is no stranger to the deep history and pride Detroit has to offer.