Cooper: Hamilton County among places feeling law enforcement shortages across the country

Staff photo by Erin O. Smith / Matt Lea, spokesman for the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office, and Amy Maxwell, the spokeswoman for Hamilton County Emergency Management and Homeland Security, speak with an Hamilton County Sheriff's officer Monday, January 7, 2019 at Camp Vesper Point in Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee.

From Boston to San Diego and from Seattle to Miami, the story is the same. Cities can't fill the ranks of their police departments, and the problem is only getting worse.

If that was the goal of protests across the country at this time last year over the death of Minneapolis suspect George Floyd in the hands of that city's police, they succeeded.

Police are retiring or taking other jobs, and big-city forces are left hundreds of officers short. Fewer people are applying to be a part of the often thankless profession, and crime is up as a result of the shortages and of a lessened desire to confront suspects.

Some of the stark numbers locally were revealed at the Hamilton County Commission meeting earlier this week when Sheriff Jim Hammond noted he was short nine school resource officers (with five in the hiring process).