MCCORMICK, S.C. (WJBF) — The McCormick Police Department is suffering from staffing shortages.
Up until the first of this year, there were six officers. One retired. One was terminated. One went to another department. The Police Chief expressed that enhancing salaries and benefits is the key to addressing these staffing challenges.
“The people in McCormick are safe. The town of McCormick is covered. We got a contract with the sheriff’s office, and we pay an off-duty officer to work the hours that we’re not working,” McCormick Police Chief W.D. “Bo” Willis said.
Two officers are working in the McCormick police department, apart from Chief Bo Willis.
One is certified, and the other is not. “Uncertified means you hadn’t been to the criminal justice academy. You can do work, but you have to be in the presence of a certified officer,” he added.
According to the Chief, the town’s main issue is petty crime, particularly a surge in car break-ins due to people leaving their cars unlocked at night.
“We’re trying to increase patrol in these areas where the break-ins are going on. We’ve done studies to see what areas, if it’s some kind of particular area time, location, and we’re trying to figure out where we need to go,” he shared.
To combat the staffing shortages, efforts have been made to enhance salaries and benefits to attract recruits. South Carolina’s residency requirement limits recruitment from neighboring areas. “So we can’t recruit from Georgia, but Georgia can recruit from us. And so we, there are people over there that will come to work here, but however, they ain’t gonna move to South Carolina to get out of Georgia,” Chief Willis revealed.
To join, you have to be at least 21 years old, a South Carolina resident with clean records no drug use or violence), and hold a high school diploma or GED.
Several applicants have shown interest in joining the department. They’re expected to start within the next few months.