SALEM, OR -- Oregon State Police may soon have a shortage of troopers, if the agency can’t recruit more people to join its ranks. OSP Recruiting Sgt. Melody Richmond says the potential shortage is from attrition; mostly, anticipated retirements, "Back in the late 90s, we used to hire pretty big classes. You might have a class of 50 recruit troopers come in. And, we’re hitting a point in time where we’re going to start having these big classes ready to retire."
The biggest issue: those big classes don’t exist anymore. Sgt. Richmond tells KBND News they’re lucky to get a couple hundred applications for a cohort. Of those, most won't last through even just the first round of the process, "There’s a physical agility test, there’s some other components that they have to physically show up for. So, even though we may start with 200-300 applicants, which doesn’t seem like a bad number when you’re trying to hire 15-20, by the time we get through the next steps, we might be reduced to 100, now." Then, of that 100, she says only around 15 will graduate from the academy.
Sgt. Richmond knows it’s a tough process and a difficult job, but says OSP has a positive reputation among law enforcement, "Whether it’s being a patrol trooper or a fish and wildlife trooper, because of our size, we have a lot of opportunities that some small agencies just aren’t going to have."
Listen to our full conversation with Sgt. Melody Richmond at our Podcast Page. For more information, stop by the OSP recruiting booth at the state fair, which begins Friday, or the Pendleton Round Up. You can also visit OSPTrooper.com.