More Troops = Fewer Cops?

The news that the Army and Marine Corps are requesting permanent increases in personnel doesn't sound like the type of thing that would impact state ...
by | December 17, 2006

The news that the Army and Marine Corps are requesting permanent increases in personnel doesn't sound like the type of thing that would impact state and local governments -- unless you realize that every federal decision impacts states and localities.

In this case, the accompanying announcement that the Army wants to end limitations on involuntary call-ups for National Guard members is sure to be of interest to governors. But, for local governments, the biggest impact of a larger military could be a corresponding drop in aspiring police officers.

Over the past year, it's become increasingly clear that many municipalities are facing a crisis in police recruitment. There are plenty of factors involved -- from low unemployment to changes in the workforce -- but one of the reasons is more and more competition from the armed services, which themselves are pressed for manpower.

That's because cops and soldiers are similar folks. Both groups are disproportionately young, male, willing to accept dangerous careers and comfortable using firearms. As a result, if the military ups benefits to try to recruit more troops, police forces may have no choice but to follow suit.

Josh Goodman
Josh Goodman  |  Former Staff Writer
mailbox@governing.com  | 

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.

More from View