(WFIE) - With more than a month left in the year, more officers have already been killed in the US in 2018 than the same amount of time last year.
This is making it harder to recruit quality candidates to fill the ranks of police departments here in the Tri-State.
“It’s more-so of a calling that they want to serve something bigger than themselves,” Henderson Police Chief Health Cox explained.
This year in Kentucky, three officers have been killed in the line of duty. Nationwide, the number is much higher. It sits at 124. 49 of the 124 are gun-related. That’s a 17-percent increase in gun-related deaths.
“We know that it is a possibility that we may run into a situation like that,” Cox added.
“It’s heartbreaking that somebody is at that point in their life when they feel like that’s the only option,” Cox told 14 News.
Henderson police has a little more than 60 officers on staff and has plans to grow.
“The success of the department long-term is getting the right people in the door,” Cox stated.
It’s not just recruiting, but retaining, and putting focus on the culture. Chief Cox says he’s planning on bringing in an officer wellness program in 2019.
“The things that officers encounter each and every day and the mental toll and the stress building up to see what we can do to take care of those who take care of us on a daily basis," Cox described.
HPD is also looking to start an explorer program next year which is aimed at ages 14 to 20-years-old and gives them a glimpse of what it’s like to work in law enforcement.