Law enforcement shortage leads to hiring changes in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – The crisis is real.

What if you’re a victim of crime in Nashville, you call for help and no one comes?

It hasn’t gotten to this point yet in the city, but the fact is simple: there is a shortage of law enforcement officers and the situation is getting worse. So much so that drastic measures are taken to attract new recruits. What will it take to attract more police or correctional officers?

It’s a complex question, but here’s a simple solution offered by the Davidson County Sheriff and it works.

“Well, the sheriff was offering $35 an hour. I don’t know of many part-time jobs that offer $35 an hour and let us choose our days of work.”

You heard it right.

Najeeb Abdullah works pretty much when he wants at the Davidson County Jail.

Sheriff Daron Hall can pay him $35 an hour because Abdullah has no benefits.

Faced earlier this year with a near-crisis of officer shortages, the sheriff took the unusual step of offering part-time gigs and it worked.

“I’m not saying we’re fat and happy, but we’re ahead of most in getting our hands on staff,” the sheriff said.

The Sheriff’s Office just turned 41 last month – the most Sheriff Hall has seen in years.

A similar shortage crisis exists with the police.

There was a time when the PD had three nominations for every opening.

It’s the opposite: one candidate for three positions.

“The reality is that we can’t get people to do the job that we need to do,” said James Smallwood of the Fraternal Order of Police.

Metro PD is currently short of 193 officers.

Smallwood, however, doesn’t think part-time agents would work.

“Not hitting Sheriff Hall. I think he did a great job. We have the same problem. Our solution is different.”

For the police department, the focus is on more intense recruiting and competitive compensation.

New officers typically start at around $50,000 per year.

That may not be enough to attract some of the younger generations who appreciate the higher hourly pay and flexibility that comes with part-time employment.

But, the police department managed to attract so-called “sides”, who established officers wanting to come to work in Music City from other places.

The police department just finished a class full of “sides,” who arrived already trained and ready to go.

The police department and the sheriff’s office are constantly on the lookout for new recruits.

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