Clallam law enforcement agencies short of prospects

Clallam County law enforcement agencies are finding it tough to fill their ranks.

Law enforcement officials said that with their rigorous screening process, and better-paying jobs elsewhere in a healthy economy, fewer people seem interested in carrying a badge.

“That is endemic in all the police agencies because the work is demanding, and while there are lot of people who love the challenge, it is difficult to get through the screening process,” said Ron Peregrin, Clallam County undersheriff.

Three new Clallam County Sheriff Department deputies are expected to be sworn in Monday morning, but that still leaves the department short one deputy.

In Port Angeles, the police department is short three officers, leading to overtime pay and administrative headaches.

The Forks Police Department is short four officers, half of its regular staff.

“When we lose one or two people, that’s a big hit – when we lose half, that’s pretty devastating,” said Forks Police Chief Mike Powell.

But the problem of finding people qualified to protect and serve is a statewide problem.

The Seattle Police Department, for example, hopes to hire 80 new officers this year.

The State Patrol has 92 openings.

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