Policing, even under the best of circumstances, is a challenging and difficult occupation.
But when you combine low pay with high levels of frustration and better paying opportunities in the private sector, you get a situation like the one St. Louis area law enforcement officials are dealing with.
In short, this is the worst year for attrition (cops leaving their jobs) anyone can remember.
The St. Louis County P.D. has an authorized strength of 857 officers but lost 34 last year. That’s about 4 percent of the force, a statistic that Chief Jon Belmar said is double that of 2013.
The County Council recently gave raises to the entire force for the first time in years, hoping that the increased pay would stem the tide of departures.
Sergeants and police officers got 7 percent; higher ranks got 10 percent raises. The chief and deputy police chief got raises separately.
But the only way to tell if this is a one-off type deal or the beginning of a troubling trend will be to see how many officers leave this year.