MIDLAND, Texas — To serve and protect: that's the role of police officers, but the Midland Police Department are currently short a few officers. In fact, they are down about 16 percent overall.
This is one reason why MPD is looking not just in Midland, but all over the country for new officers.
"Sometimes you got to think outside the box, and we put out some signage in El Paso, San Antonio, New York, and California, and we’re just looking for people that just want to serve and protect their community and want to protect this community," MPD's Sergeant Jimmy Young said.
MPD only has 164 officers employed, which is 31 officers short of how many they are allowed for a city the size of Midland.
"I would like to put more people in traffic. I’d like to have more detectives. We would like to have more directed patrol officers, but we have to make sure patrol is full. Our priority is patrol so if patrol is not full then we can’t add to detectives or traffic unit," Sgt. Young said.
The question is, however, why is there a shortage of officers? As with everything else in the Permian Basin, it has to do with the status of the oil and gas industry.
"When I started recruiting two years ago, we had lots of applications due to the oil field going down. Now the oil field is picking up, and guess what? You have less people interested in becoming police officers," Sgt. Young said.
A nationwide search from California to New York has led to some success so far.
"We were thinking 'hey let’s start putting out some signage, using Facebook and stuff like that or social media stuff in Florida, everywhere,' and we’ve done really well. So I’m getting a lot of calls, and we’re really excited about it," Sgt. Young said.
Sgt. Young hopes to have a full MPD a year from now, and they already have a police academy underway with about nine new recruits. If you want to apply to become a police officer, you can head to the MPD website here.