Lake Charles police holding recruitment event amid shortage of officers

LCPD Sergeant discuss barriers as well as reasons why citizens should join the police in their time of shortage.
Published: Aug. 25, 2023 at 9:13 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - A national shortage of police officers continues, and the Lake Charles Police Department is down by 15 percent.

This weekend they are holding a recruitment event in hopes of filling that need.

From double digits to single – that is how recruiter Sgt. Larry Moss describes the turnout for police recruiting events these days.

“There’s probably a myriad of reasons for that revolving around law enforcement, but us in particular, we’re in competition with everyone else, all the local businesses in the area, and especially our local refineries are offering quite a bit of cash upfront,” he said.

Moss also believes good cops get a bad reputation from social media and headlines. He said there’s more than what meets the eye.

“When a citizen calls the police department, they’re generally not inviting us to a birthday party, they’re not inviting us over for Christmas dinner. They’re calling us the worst day of their life. The officers responding, you want them to be polite and want them to courteous, but they may have just come from a fatality involving an infant, then this might their 12th call about clippings in the yard that day, so you may not get the freshest version of that officer,” Sgt. Moss said.

And though he acknowledges it’s not an excuse, it serves as a barrier for one local resident.

“Nowadays they need a little more training on connecting with people. I do retail, and they always encourage us to connect with a customer, and you would think with a job like that, that would be something that you really did,” Yolanda LeBlanc said.

Stemming from experience, LeBlanc said better communication and relationships with the community would help.

“Because when you walk into a situation or get on the scene, of course you have to take that situation down, but at the same time get an understanding of what’s going on before you just react,” LeBlanc said.

But that is just the surface. What about pay, racism and trust? All are issues that have made recent headlines.

Moss sat down with us to address those issues. He said the starting pay for an officer is just over $47,000 without overtime and benefits are good. When it comes to race issues, Moss said they have a vigorous hiring process.

“We do a polygraph screening, we do a psychological screening. You can’t look at someone and know what’s going on in their heart,” he said.

When it comes to trust, Moss said he understands officers are held to a higher standard, and all they ask is that citizens remember one thing.

“I think something that should be equal on both sides of the fence is an understanding that we are human just like everyone else,” he said.

If you’re interested in a career in law enforcement, LCPD is hosting a recruiting session Saturday. It will begin at 8 a.m. at the Civic Center in Lake Charles. Come dressed casually, as a physical test will conducted on the spot.

There are also other positions that vacant that are vacant as well such as dispatchers and more. For more information on additional positions besides police officers, reach out to the Lake Charles Police Department at 337-491-1311.