5.9.22 – ODESSA, Texas —News West 9
Agencies in Midland and Odessa are trying to find new recruits.
The Ector County Sheriff’s office is having a hard time hiring enough employees to fill positions in patrol, the jail and dispatch.
But, it’s not an issue unique to Ector County, or even the state of Texas.
The lack of staff is also happening in Midland County.
“The problem is that, I don’t know of a single law enforcement entity in Midland County that isn’t short staffed,” said Midland County District Attorney Laura Nodolf. “So when you have persons, detectives, at the police department, when you have criminal investigators at the sheriff’s department, including the Texas Rangers, and then prosecutors within my office, we’re all carrying more very serious life-altering offenses than I’ve ever seen in my entire time that I’ve been with Midland County.”
Nodolf has seen an increase in felony crimes like homicides in recent years.
Agencies are doing what they can, but with the pandemic and a stigma behind police and law enforcement in recent years, it is not easy.
“We’re contacting the high schools and trying to get some young people in here that want to work,” said Griffis. “With that said, there’s still a lot of people staying home and getting unemployment.”
The shortage of law enforcement makes it harder on officers, and they have to choose what they respond to first.
“We have to prioritize our calls, whereas a loud music call is not going to get priority over a family violence call, that’s a number one priority call, shots fired calls are going to get priority,” said Griffis. “I hate that we’re in that state right now, in that condition that we have to prioritize our calls like that, but we ask for patience.”
To become a part of any law enforcement agency, applicants will have to undergo psychological tests, background checks and more, but that is all important for the job.
“It takes a special kind of person, with a special heart, special attitude, to do these types of jobs, and that’s what we want, we want somebody that will come and work for us and commit themselves,” said Griffis. “I tell everybody, this is not a job, this is a way of life.”
A way of life that protects the community of West Texas.
“The fact of the matter is, we can’t live in a community, in a state, in a country without local law enforcement,” said Griffis.