Police departments in our area are feeling the pinch of a lack of qualified applicants these days.
But a new program at a local college is looking to meet that need.
“The criminal justice program is an associate degree program that will help to prepare students for a career in the law enforcement field,” said Pamela Proulx-Curry, Academic Dean at Eastern Maine Community College.
EMCC will soon offer a two-year program in Criminal Justice.
“Our programs are very applied, lots of hands-on experience. So we think that this will be a program that can help meet local needs,” said Proulx-Curry.
Local departments like Bangor Police say recently they’ve seen an increase in the number of retirees, but a decrease in the number of young qualified applicants.
“Our department in the last six months has had four people retire and over the past year we’ve had a little over ten people retire, so we have a little over ten openings in the agency right now. And a problem that we’re having, and it’s actually happening statewide, is a lack of qualified candidates,” said Bangor Police Sergeant Catherine Rumsey.
Bangor Police Sergeant Cathy Rumsey says she welcomes EMCC’s new program in helping find those new applicants.
“It does help them because it gives them a foundation for the education, the knowledge of the career, they know what they’re getting into. And it can also help them when they get into the police academy,” said Rumsey.
“Students can’t really go to the academy until they’re 21 years old, so the student who’s interested in law enforcement coming directly out of high school would find this program attractive,” said Proulx-Curry.
The degree program begins this fall and will admit 24 students. School officials say it’s already filling up.