National officer shortage not keeping academy grads from choosing Beaumont

BEAUMONT - Four graduates of the Lamar Institute of Technology Regional Police Academy became Beaumont Police Officers Friday.  Their swearing-in ceremony comes as police departments across the country report a shortage of new recruits.

The new officers come from across southeast Texas.

  • Christopher Raymer, 32, a resident of Orange, TX.  He is a recent graduate from the L.I.T. Regional Police Academy.  Christopher also attended college at Louisiana Tech and Lamar University.
  • Robert Parsley, 23, a resident of Port Arthur, TX.  He is a recent graduate of the L.I.T. Regional Police Academy.  Robert also earned a Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University.
  • Ryan Whitehead, 24, a resident of Silsbee, TX.  He is a recent graduate from the L.I.T. Regional Police Academy.  Ryan is also a graduate from Lamar University where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.
  • Chandler Hudspeth, 21, a resident of Beaumont, TX.  Chandler is a recent graduate from the L.I.T. Regional Police Academy.  Chandler recently served as a Correctional Officer with the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office.

ABC News reports the number of new officer applicants is down 90 percent in some cities.  NBC News says the shortage has some departments becoming more flexible and offering competitive pay.

Beaumont’s success in attracting and keeping officers reflects the NBC report.  Chris Catalina, Personnel Director of the City of Beaumont, told 12News a rookie officer in Beaumont starts at $57,024 per year.  Officers with experience can receive sign-on bonuses.  The latest listing for an experienced officer in Beaumont offered a $2,000 per year of service sign-on bonus. Senior officers (below Sgt.) make as high as $79,092.

Catalina said there are no officer positions posted at this time, but he expects positions to be posted by fall.

© 2017 KBMT-TV


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