DAYTON, Ohio – The Dayton Police Department should have 365 sworn officers — but doesn’t. It had 336 officers at the end of November. That’s because the agency has struggled mightily with attrition and recruitment.
The Dayton Daily News reported that the police department started 2023 with the lowest staffing level in years, and that was before more than 50 officers retired or resigned.
The struggles have continued for over two years as the department lost more than twice as many officers as it did just a few years ago.
Compounding the issue is that nearly half of the cadets in the most recent police recruit class dropped out before they could complete the academy.
Joe Parlette, Dayton’s deputy city manager, calls the trend “alarming.”
Police recruitment is a national challenge. The Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy licenses all law enforcement officers in Ohio and has for years had hundreds fewer new certifications than it used to. Through Nov. 14 of this year, it certified 1,138 new officers statewide. In 2018, it licensed 1,532.
But while law enforcement agencies across the state grapple with hiring and retaining officers, the union representing Dayton police say city leaders could do more to bolster DPD’s ranks such as increase pay and improve overall work conditions.