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Fayetteville police chief says it's tough to recruit, retain officers

Posted April 28, 2015

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— Javin Morton was a Fayetteville police officer for five years before leaving the force to take a job overseas as a security officer.

Now he’s back in Fayetteville and getting re-certified as a police officer. He said he loves the job and thinks police officers across the country are getting a bad reputation because of a few bad apples.

“I think right now, with the climate that’s going on and with everything that’s coming out in the media, that’s just a few examples of what police officers are actually doing,” Morton said. “It’s not the core of what we’re doing. Like we have police officers who go down and sit with homeless people and actually eat with them.”

Fayetteville Police Chief Harold Medlock told City Council on Monday that he’s having a tough time recruiting and keeping experienced officers because the dangers and difficult nature of the job have made it less appealing.

“We have experienced over the last six or seven months some resignations from the department that, quite frankly, we had not expected from officers that are veteran officers,” he said. “Families, spouses, moms and dads are not as in favor of their family member being a police officer in some cases as they once were.”

Training is tough. There’s six months at the police academy and another 14 weeks of field training. It’s work that Medlock says has to be approached with compassion for people.

“Being very concerned about how we treat people in just the way we interact with them,” he said. “Being as professional as we can and as kind as we can, even when we’re having to lay hands on someone and (make) an arrest.”

Amber Barron is training to become an officer. She said she wants to help change the image of law enforcement from the inside.

“Not all police officers are bad,” she said. “I just want to make a change, and I want for the next generation to hopefully realize that police officers are good and they’re here to help you instead of being afraid of them.”


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