When taking eligible retirees into account with current vacancies, public safety institutions could be facing critical staffing shortages.
The pure concept of public safety allows all the other social and economical elements of society to thrive. At the MACo Winter Conference last week an esteemed panel of public safety experts came together to discuss the current state of the various departments and agencies that come together to keep our communities safe.
All three pillars of public safety – police, first responders, and corrections – are suffering from staffing vacancies that in some jurisdictions have risen to the mid 20 percent range. In addition to the hiring difficulties many of these institutions are operating with retirement eligible individuals who can constitute, in some cases, over 20 percent of the existing workforce. It was apparent from the presentation that these are careers that already require the presence of a unique personality and skill set. Under the existing conditions described, that combination of characteristics is needed in even greater abundance than usual at a time when shortages are being seen across many sectors.
Queen Anne’s Director of Corrections, LaMonte Cooke, reiterated further how important it is for the public to understand that corrections is one of the most foundational elements of public safety. The ability to effectually rehabilitate and care for inmates has a direct association to the security of our communities. He went on to point out that corrections is the only governmental agency tasked with the direct, 24-7 care, protection, and rehabilitation of an incredibly vulnerable and often dangerous population. It’s a big job that needs very good people.
These signs point once again to attracting and retaining qualified staff in government positions as a major topic of conversation leading into the 2023 legislative session.
Title: Safety First: Counties Delivering for Secure Communities
- Dave Morris, Chief of Staff, Anne Arundel County Police
- Tiffany Green, Fire Chief, Prince George’s County
- LaMonte Cooke, Warden, Queen Anne’s County
- Matt Peter, Senior Attorney, Local Government Insurance Trust
Moderator: The Honorable Jazz M. Lewis, Maryland House of Delegates
More about MACo’s Winter Conference: