Is Bay County seeing a law enforcement shortage?

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 8:10 PM CDT
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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Law enforcement agencies in the United States aren’t seeing the number of recruits they normally would. The main reason we’re told is the negative perception law enforcement has across the country after several recent police-related shootings.

“You have got to have the community support of law enforcement, you cannot violate that trust, and if you violate that trust it is hard to recover with your community,” Lynn Haven Police Chief Ricky Ramie said.

We talked with some of our local agencies to see if they were seeing a similar hiring issue, and they say they’ve had no problem recruiting police officers and deputies.

“In fact, it is having sort of an opposite effect because we are seeing several applicants and seasoned police officers from cities up north wanting to work here,” Panama City Beach Police Lieutenant J.R. Talamantez said.

However, we’re told it does make it easier to be an officer in a community that supports you.

“What is happening in other major municipalities in regards to the perception of law enforcement isn’t happening here. We have the support of the community, we have the support of the city leadership,” Lt. Talamantez said.

Chief Ramie also adds local law enforcement agencies have a healthy relationship with this community.

“And we reach out and keep in constant contact. If there is anything that ever arises the sheriff will pull all the chiefs together and the NAACP or whoever we have to work with, to work through our community problems,” Chief Ramie said.

“The partnership that the police department has with the community is by far the most important single aspect of community policing,” Lt. Talamantez said.

Both Chief Ramie and Lieutenant Talamantez say when a community works together to solve problems, better outcomes can be achieved.

“The community needs to understand that we all need to take a small part but we will be here, we will be staffed and we will be ready to handle anything that is presented to us,” Lt. Talamantez said.

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