BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) – It’s a problem Spanish Fort Police Chief John Barber saw first-hand last year, now in 2022 he’s still finding it tough to recruit good help.

“I think you know about the National narrative. There’s a lot of negativity that’s been portrayed around policing in general,” said Barber Thursday.

On top of those challenges, Barber said the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t helped. Currently, he’s looking to hire two officers for his department, but he says it’s been tough competing with businesses that are offering higher pay to attract candidates.

“I lost a person just a month ago who was a corporal here. He is being offered double his salary. I can’t blame somebody to go and try to do better for his family,” he added.

In Summerdale, Chief Kevin Brock echoes Chief Barber’s concerns while he also looks to fill open positions in the new year.

“Our current culture, through social media, has created an entire generation that has no desire to serve which is sad and has left us with very few new candidates. But I have noticed an influx of experienced candidates moving from the northern states to the southern states. This has created an avenue for local agencies to interview some good candidates we would otherwise have not had access to,” said Chief Brock.

Chief Barber tells us despite the openings his officers are working hard to make sure there are no gaps in coverage.

“We’re running short right now, but we’ll fill in the gaps wherever we have to do that. We’ll go short if we have to find the right applicant. They’re out there, but the highly qualified applicants all departments are seeking them which they should be. We all should be trying to get the highest quality person to work for us,” said Barber.