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I showed up early for an appointment with Capt. Tony McElroy of the SDPD’s southern division yesterday.

As I sat in the lobby, waiting for the captain to emerge from a series of meetings, I picked up a copy of American Police Beat, a monthly magazine based in Massachusetts, which was lying on the table in the police station lobby.

One item that particularly caught my eye was an item entitled The Top Ten Signs There’s a Recruitment Crisis.

Here it is:

In conversations with local police personnel over the last few weeks, it’s become clear that San Diego is not alone in its struggle to recruit and retain police officers. Indeed, many officers, including the Police Department’s recruitment people, have told me that police departments around the country are having trouble finding bodies.

Part of the blame for the crisis is being put on the Iraq war, which several officers have told me has become a magnet for the sort of young people who would normally want to join the police force. Enlistment bonuses of tens of thousands of dollars for signing up to go to Iraq haven’t helped the police either.

Of course, the Top Ten list is meant to be humorous, but check out number 10. Sounds a little bitter, but that’s exactly the sort of thing I have been hearing when I talk to police officers around San Diego.

WILL CARLESS

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