UMaine Police Chief says department is facing a recruitment shortage

ORONO, Maine (WABI) - It's National Police Week.

This week officers are being recognized for their service and sacrifice at a time when many stations are seeing a recruitment shortage.

"You know, a police officer, if you think about it, is a jack of all trades."

University of Maine Police Chief Roland LaCroix says officers need to have multiples abilities to deal with all sorts of different situations, scenarios and temperaments on a day to day basis.

"So, they've got a lot of tricks in their bag," he says.

His department on the Orono campus deals with a smaller geographical area to cover and a different demographic within it.

"The majority of our population is 18 to 22 years old. Here at the University of Maine, we are very diverse, probably the most diverse community in one in a concentrated area in the whole state of Maine."

He says those factors make being a campus police officer different than for a municipality.

"And, then we have an opportunity, maybe, hopefully, to have a positive influence on some young person's life and hopefully help them survive and succeed here at the University of Maine so they can go out and be prosperous citizens somewhere."

He says during National Police Week he thinks of his many years wearing a badge.

"It's time of reflection. For me, personally, I reflect on my career, I reflect on the people I cross paths with and that I've worked with and that I've known and certainly the people that have died in the line of duty."

He says recruitment is down for his department and many around the state and country.

"You're dealing with people and not in the greatest of times in most cases so it's not an easy job."

He while being an officer comes with many benefits he can't pinpoint one reason for the police shortage but says it could be due to the challenge and danger that comes with the job.

"You appreciate and respect everyone in this line of business but you're reminded about how dangerous it is and for me I'm reminded about how lucky I've been in my career."

The chief says anyone can apply at anytime through the UMaine website.