Conn. police recruiters thrilled after study ranks their state best to be a cop

The Norwich Police Department says the study's findings fit perfectly with its latest recruiting campaign

By Claire Bessette
The Day, New London, Conn.

NORWICH, Conn. — The timing of a new national study that found Connecticut to be "the best place to be a cop" fits in perfectly with a new marketing campaign to be launched soon by city police to fill nine vacant positions and six new positions to be funded with a federal grant.

WalletHub, a financial services company based in Washington, D.C., recently released its study that ranked the 50 states and Washington, D.C., based on 30 factors to pursue a law enforcement career. The survey was divided into three categories: opportunity and competition, law enforcement training requirements and job hazards and protections.

A new national study found that Connecticut is the best place to be a cop. The Norwich Police Department plans to incorporate the study into a new recruitment campaign
A new national study found that Connecticut is the best place to be a cop. The Norwich Police Department plans to incorporate the study into a new recruitment campaign (Norwich Police Department)

Standing outside police headquarters Monday morning, state Sen. Cathy Osten, D- Sprague, whose district includes Norwich, suggested the city should be considered a top place in the state to be a police officer.

Police Chief Patrick Daley and Sgt. Nicholas Rankin used the news conference to highlight an upcoming marketing campaign to recruit police applicants with diverse backgrounds. Daley said the number of recruits has been declining steadily over the past 10 years, reflecting national trends.

Rankin said years ago, Norwich scheduled physical agility tests "in waves," with 200 applicants for two positions. At one recent agility test, Norwich police had four people try out and all failed.

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"Mind you, this is the test we give you the answers to ahead of time," Rankin said.

"You get to a point where you can't get out of that hole," Daley said, "so that's why we're working really aggressively with those nine openings, because we know the community is safer with more officers on the streets."

Norwich has 88 authorized officer positions and now has 79 officers, Daley said. The department received a federal Community Oriented Policing Services, COPS, grant, to hire another six officers.

Rankin said he was not surprised by the state's top ranking for training and said Norwich has benefited from de-escalation training. Like many cities, Norwich saw protests against police brutality in 2020 following the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis. But Rankin said there were no arrests and no property damage in Norwich.

Also at the time, several Norwich residents launched a new police-community relations committee, called Rose City United, which plans community events and discussion of issues. The group discussed the police staffing shortage recently.

Committee member and artist Lornell Anthony two weeks ago presented police with a colorful poster to be used for recruiting. The poster depicts several police officers as superheroes, battling incoming meteors labeled, "crime," "child abuse," "domestic violence," "drug abuse" and "mental health." Each character will have a storyline Anthony plans to play out in a digital comic book.

Police unveiled the poster, which will be part of the new recruiting campaign, during Monday's news conference. Anthony donated the poster to the effort, but Rankin said the department will pay for his work as the project progresses.

"We're trying to now reach back out to people and say, 'hey, come find your calling. Come make a difference where you live, or come live where you want to make a difference,'" Rankin said.

Anyone interested in learning more about becoming a police officer should contact Norwich police at (860) 886-5561, Ext. 3141.

Does geography make a difference in police life? Read Police1 columnist Joel Shults' take on the report here.

(c)2022 The Day (New London, Conn.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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