The Orlando Police Department needs more officers and fast. With dozens of openings, the agency is holding a job fair on Saturday.
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Ofc. Lawrence McCalley has been a law enforcement officer for more than 20 years. He is a recruiter for the police department and his job is to hire new applicants.
"Our main priority here at the Orlando Police Department is protecting the citizens of the community. The more officers we have on the street, the more better we can accomplish that mission," McCalley said.
It is easier said than done during an officer shortage.
According to the National Association of Chiefs of Police, about 80% of all law enforcement agencies nationwide don't have enough cops.
OPD has about 40 openings and that's only for sworn officers.
"We really want to reach out to the community and then even outside the community, get anybody who's got an interest in law enforcement to come to this job fair," McCalley said.
Experts said the pandemic plays a part in the issue, but they also blame the negative press.
The death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin spurred nationwide protests against police brutality.
McCalley admits being an officer isn't easy, but the rewards far outweigh the hardships.
"It's about seeing the smile on that person's face at the end of a call that you've had to work through," he said. "That memory is going to last forever with them. That's what it's about."
The starting pay for a new officer after training and probation is $25.34 an hour plus benefits.
The career fair is at OPD headquarters from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
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