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Coastal Bend law enforcement agencies are lacking officers and seeing a drop in applications

They said police acting unlawfully could be cause
Posted at 7:35 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 22:39:43-04

ROCKPORT, Texas — Portland Police Chief Mark Cory said the number of of applicants applying to the Portland Police Department has been dropping in the past 10 years.

However, he said in the past two years, it has taken a significant drop.

He said he attributes that to the George Floyd incident that occurred about two years ago and the reaction on social media.

“It portrayed the 99.99 percent of officers that are out there doing their absolute best to serve the citizens of their communities, it turned the tide against all those officers,” Cory said.

He said they have a staff of around 38 officers, but said they still need to fill 4 positions.

That means one officer is lacking during each shift, he added.

Cory said because of that they are offering higher base pay and offering three-day weekends every other weekend.

He said even though they are still getting applications, they might not be from people with the right qualifications.

“If there is any issues, we will discover those and discover them in the background, and because of that, that cuts down on our qualified applicants,” Cory said.

Rockport Police Chief Greg Stevens said while police officers acting out of line might be swaying public trust in police, they don’t have a problem getting applicants.

But like Chief Cory said, sometimes have a problem getting ones with the right qualifications. He said they’re looking to fill two officer vacancies, but they aren’t lacking officers.

“We are looking for just the right people, to be honest with you. We owe that to our community. Both our full time residents and the people that come here year after year,” Stevens said.

San Patricio County Sheriff Oscar Rivera said they’re also short on deputies in the patrol and jail units because of bad incidents involving police officers around the nation.

He said the county approved a pay increase, raising starting pay from $31,000 to $44,000 which will start next month.

However, that worries Aransas Pass Police Chief Eric Blanchard.

“That likely is going to have a threat on our retention ability within the agency,” Blanchard said.

He said while they do have a full staff, the City of Aransas Pass did increase officer’s base pay last year. He said he doesn’t care if applicants have tattoos or colored hair because he hopes their extensive training attracts people to the Aransas Pass PD.

“I tell people, in Aransas Pass PD, you’re not a number, you’re a team member. You're a family member in this agency,” Blanchard said.