AUSTIN, Minn. - The City of Austin is struggling to get emergency personnel positions filled.
The Austin Police Department has seen a drop in applicants this year. In the past, the agency averaged about 80 applicants but this year’s pool was just 16.
APD has room for 34 officers and is currently down two positions.
There are three factors that lead to this storage: stress, pay and educational requirements.
Austin Police Chief David McKichan says the prime factor is that the job can be taxing on the officers.
“We do a lot of work with mental health patients and respond to medical emergencies. The job has a lot of strain physically and mentally that can go into our profession,” Said McKichan.
He further explained that officers are switching to agencies and taking jobs in bigger metro areas because the pay is better. Also, many applicants they get do not meet the requirements.
“In Minnesota, there are some educational requirements that must be met, meaning you must go to school beyond high school in order to enter our career profession,” Said McKichan.
The City of Austin has brought in a consulting company to take a look at the business model.