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January 04, 2010
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Small-town Texas officers facing career challenges

Rural departments are struggling with high turnover rates


Working for small-town Central Texas police departments has its advantages, but a high turnover rate among officers in rural areas is one issue that many of those departments regularly contend with.

A small-town department might be a tight-knit group that experiences less threat in its day-to-day business. But the drawbacks of working for a small force include lower wages and less on-the-job training. The negative aspects contribute to the turnover rate among police in rural Central Texas.

The negative aspects contribute to the turnover rate among police in rural Central Texas. Employee data gathered by the Tribune-Herald from 24 small forces in the area show that at least 30 officers switched to another force in the area in the past five years. Of those who transferred, 15 months was the average amount of time they spent at one department, according to available data.

While some officers switch jobs because of relocations or life changes, many officers said higher wages and more excitement encourage rural police officers to move on to other departments.

“I think the reason there’s turnover in small towns is because everybody is looking for something better, always having ‘the grass is greener’-type syndrome, or wanting to go to a bigger agency or someplace that’s busier,” Moody police officer Richard Ray said.

Read full story: Small town police officers face different challenges

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