Pagosa Springs Police Chief William Rockensock and Town Manager Greg Schulte agreed to sit down with SUN staff earlier this week to discuss a matter of growing concern among the community — the town’s shortage of police officers.
Schulte admitted that for as long as he has been the town manager, the police department has been short-staffed.
“Recruiting for police officers is a difficult proposition for many jurisdictions,” he explained. “It’s not something that’s isolated to us. People have to realize it’s a very specialized position, it requires a high degree of training, you have to have a POST (Peace Officer Standards and Training) certification and we exist in a marketplace, so there is a supply and demand.”
Schulte explained that not only do most local agencies experience an almost constant shortage of personnel, but it is also a concern for larger metropolitan areas such as those in southern California, where he worked before he became the town manager here.
“What’s interesting,” Rockensock added, “is that you would find this interesting. To us, this is common. In the world of law enforcement, to have openings within a department — continuing, revolving openings, especially in small departments where we end up being a training ground for a lot of things — this is not uncommon.”
The chief explained that there is no commitment to the job anymore, unfortunately, and there are two main reasons that people leave — for better experience, which includes a chance to get promotions, or for better pay.