CARY, NC (WNCN) — Employers across central North Carolina are dealing with staffing shortage issues, and law enforcement is high on that list.
On Saturday, the Cary Police Department helped run a Wake County Law Enforcement Career Fair. The event brought together more than a dozen municipal organizations who are all looking for qualified candidates to fill vacant positions.
You’ve heard it all year since the COVID-19 pandemic — the “great quit”. The pandemic has taken a toll on law enforcement as more officers and deputies have retired or taken on new careers. People from all over the Triangle attended a job fair Saturday at Cary’s Herb Young Community Center.
Candidates like Keli Lloyd are looking for work after losing her job during the pandemic.
“I want to find work that’s really meaningful and fulfilling and something where I really feel like I’m helping others,” she said.
Others are looking to change careers.
“I’m just exploring my options as I consider leaving the military and devoting myself fully to public service,” said Manuel Rengifo.
However, while other candidates interested employers, it was Jordan Maith, 25, who caught the attention of many recruiters in the room. His previous career in law enforcement and a master’s degree in criminal justice are what made him a hot commodity.
“It’s encouraging for me because it’s like a kid in the candy store right now. I’m trying to see what the best opportunities are for me. Who’s going to be fair? Who’s going to care about me? And just overall, the people who are going to take care of me,” Maith said.
He said the career fair experience was overwhelming, but it’s the call to help others that makes him want to come back behind the badge.
“Each agency has different things. So everyone is different – that’s what caught my eye with every agency here,” Maith said.
“That’s exactly what we wanted. We were able to talk to many people who wanted to come out and lead in their specific communities and hopefully Cary was one of their options,” said Sgt. Travis Gresham with the Cary Police Department.
Right now the department is down 8% and they hope events like this will change that.
Gresham spoke about what’s next after Saturday’s job fair.
“The next step for many of these applicants is their first initial interview with us, and we hope they are successful. Either they go on to basic law enforcement training schools or they start on the road, with some of the field training officers,” Gresham said.
The Cary Police Department currently has 16 vacancies. According to recent reports, the Raleigh police have over 100 vacancies. And they are looking to fill these positions as soon as possible.