WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - There is a shortage of police officers nationwide, and this year’s Wichita Falls Police Academy is smaller compared to years past.
While the numbers are small, the desire for the academy to graduate and make a difference in their community is not.
Trainee Camron Snyder grew up with a father in law enforcement. His father was a part of the Wichita Falls Police Department for over 30 years.
However, family tradition is only one of the reasons why Snyder has joined this year’s Wichita Falls Police Academy.
“I’ve had positive interactions with police officers before and just always admired the way they’ve handled themselves. Most of the time I’ve dealt with them, they’ve had a smile on their face,” he said.
Aaron New is training the five recruits in this year’s academy. He had a similar view of law enforcement early on in life.
New said, “I’ve always wanted to get into law enforcement. I used to ride with state troopers and law enforcement where I grew up."
New has been on the force for 12 years now and knows firsthand how following through with the process to become an officer is not easy. It can take over half a year, and there are several stages to qualify for.
“The background investigation – that’s where a lot of applicants get kicked out. Then they also have to complete a psychological test, a medical test, so there’s just a lot of aspects to it,” New said.
These checkpoints are required by the state of Texas.
Other factors are contributing to the police shortage across the nation. The danger of the job alone is one reason. There is also a mistrust of police due to police brutality.
Officers in the Wichita Falls think the amount of pay is also holding people back from joining the force.
But that has not stopped some from fulfilling their dream of becoming an officer.
Snyder said, “I think everybody would say that they want to be able to help and serve their community. It's just something to look forward to every day when you start your shift.”
Tuesday at 6 p.m., the WFPD will be hosting another Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE) training at the Public Safety Training Center located at 710 Flood St. The class is limited to the first 60 registrants and has been filled.