© Liberty Blitzkrieg
There once was a time in America, when law enforcement was a very admirable field. The police were viewed as pillars of their community, and kids looked up to them, and wanted to be them when they grew up. They were almost always the good guys in the movies, and they maintained a reputation for being honorable, ethical, and disciplined. Or at least they did on the surface.

While Americans are coming to grips with the corruption and cruelty found in many of our police departments, many have wondered if law enforcement has only recently turned to the dark side, or if modern technologies like cell phones and cameras are pulling the veil off of a problem that has existed for decades. In either case, it's obvious that public opinion is slowly turning against this profession, which may be contributing to a major crisis in hundreds of police departments across America.

Apparently, nobody wants to be a cop anymore.
Police departments in Los Angeles, New York and Chicago are all working harder at recruitment and drawing fewer applicants. But it is also the same story in smaller cities such as Leesburg, Va., where the number of applicants to the police department has dropped 90 percent over the past five years, and Reno, Nev., which reports a decline of 50 percent since 1997.

A decade ago, there were 3,000 applicants for 10 openings with the Seattle police, the department says. Now there are 1,000 applicants for 70 positions — a drop of more than 90 percent.

In Springfield, Miss., only 75 people applied for the police academy this month. But four years ago, they had 300, reports Elaine Deck, a researcher who has been studying the problem for the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

In rural towns in the South, the number of people showing up to take the written police exam has often dropped 80 percent, she says.

In Fairfax County, Va., an entrance exam advertisement would draw 4,000 people five years ago. Now, it brings in 300.
So why is this happening? According the police themselves, the reasons are many but don't always add up. Some say that it's because the pay is terrible, but that has always been an issue for some departments, and didn't prevent people from signing up before. It's also not the same across the board. Police are paid well in some cities and states, and not so much in others.

Some have suggested that it's the inherent danger of the job, but that doesn't really make sense either. Policing is hardly the most dangerous job in America. It's doesn't even make the top 10 list of hazardous jobs. And again, the danger factor didn't keep people from joining up before.

One reasonable explanation might be some of the higher standards that police departments require today. In the past it wasn't unusual for someone to become a cop with nothing but a high school degree, and academy training. Now most departments demand a 2 year college degree. But could something as simple as a college degree cause recruit levels to fall so much? Pretty much anyone can get into college these days, even if they can't afford it.

It could be a lower unemployment rate, but I doubt it. Many of these trends began long before the housing crash. It exists despite the rise and fall of unemployment rates.

The truth is, there are fewer potential recruits because more people hate cops. This profession is no longer respectable to many potential recruits. Many of us grew up watching cop shows and movies, and were led to believe that cops caught bad guys and solved murders, and generally protected the population from evil people.

Now we know better. We know that being a cop means being an enforcer for our vile government. We know that cops are no longer trained to be respectful and aware, they're trained to put their own safety above everyone else, even when it means being trigger happy. We've seen our police go from being Andy Grifiths and Barney Millers, and turn into power tripping gestapo agents.

This certainly isn't true for every police officer, but the worst members of this profession are finally getting the attention they deserve. Nobody wants to be a cop anymore, because now, cops are no longer viewed as the good guys. To many of us, they're starting to sound an awful lot like the bad guys they're supposed to protect us from.

Even many of the cops themselves don't like this job. Some of our biggest police departments are losing their officers in droves.
Adding to the problem is the large number of officers taking early retirement. The Los Angeles Police Department's last major recruitment drive took place over 20 years ago, and those officers are now eligible for early pensions. The department estimates it loses five police officers a day to retirement, out of its force of 9,400. The IACP reports that in Baltimore, 400 of 500 officers took early retirement — far more than officials had expected.
And suppose that I'm right about this. What if the biggest reason why the police don't have as many recruits, is because public opinion is turning against them, and more people are starting to view the police as the bad guys. If that's true, then we can safely assume that the police are increasingly attracting the worst sort. If they're documented actions are repelling people that have a good conscience, then many of the remaining recruits are not going to be good people.

There will be even more bad guys that are accepted into law enforcement, for lack of interest from good people. So it's safe to say that the reputation of the police is going to become far worse before it gets any better.