Many police departments are losing personnel and struggling to recruit replacements. Low pay is a factor -- so are the challenging working conditions and overnight shifts.
Criminologist Dr. Alex del Carmen says it could be the so-called "Ferguson effect" pushing people away from the career, but he thinks we're probably just in a down cycle.
He hopes, “This is actually short-lived and it's really not anything to be troubled about, because we've gone through this before -- where it just kind of goes in cycles.”
The number of people wanting to do the job will likely come back because more officers aren’t in it for money or glory.
“They will all tell you at the end of a 30 or 40-year career that they felt the call to be police officers,” de Carmen notes. “No one enters it because it's a comfortable job.”
There has been minimal impact in Houston. The recruiting class starting next month is at its capacity of 70 officers -- and the city is scheduling more classes than in the past.