POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - A federal grant may be helping take the load off of local law enforcement. The Dept. of Justice is awarding nearly $400 million to agencies across the country.
Pocatello is among the four departments applying for the granted throughout the state. 596 departments across the country will be awarded allowing more than 2,700 new officers nationwide.
If awarded, the Pocatello Police Dept. will be able to hire five new officers and conduct more training in partnership with the Fort Hall Police Dept.
Law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling to fill their ranks. A recent survey by the Police Executive Research Forum shows a 66% drop in applicants out of 400 departments surveyed nationwide.
More cars, comfortable uniforms, facial hair and less education has been the most recent initiative to get more applicants. Protests against police brutality has only magnified this trend.
Pocatello Police Chief Roger Schei says the job isn’t for everyone, but positions still need to be filled to operate sufficiently.
“Being a police officer, you have to put yourself in harm's way,” Schei said. “You have to say, ‘here I am, send me,’ and you have to be willing to do that.”
The department will meet with city officials. They are expected to hear from the Dept. of Justice within the next month.