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Butte Police encouraging more people to seek law enforcement careers in face of staffing shortage

Butte-Sliver Bow Law Enforcement needs to hire six officers to get back to being fully staffed.
Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 18, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-20 10:50:04-04

BUTTE — With the continued manpower shortage in the Butte Police Department they’ve actually had to temporarily suspend their traffic division so they can concentrate on patrolling the streets of Butte and that’s why they want to encourage more people to consider a career in law enforcement.

“You know, people aren't flocking to this profession like they used to. Back when I started 34 years ago, you know, there was probably over 100 people that took the test. The last time we took the test we barely had 30 show up,” said Butte Sheriff Ed Lester.

Police need to hire six officers to bring staffing back up to 52. The sheriff said that while law enforcement can be a rewarding job, it’s not an easy profession.

“You have to be committed to doing this job. It’s not a hobby; it’s a lifestyle and you have to dedicate yourself to doing this job and doing some things that are difficult and you see things that you shouldn’t,” said Lester.

Before the drop in staffing, Butte would have one officer on the morning and afternoon shift dedicated to responding to traffic calls. Now officers have to do both traffic and routine patrolling.

“But when you add emphasis to one area, then you have to take officers away from other areas, and criminals aren’t stupid. They can see that a lot of cops in a certain area, they don’t want to operate in that area so they move around,” the sheriff said.

Last year police responded to a little more than 29,000 calls for service and made more than 1,700 arrests.

“We’re always working to try to stem the tide of drugs in our community and that drives the property crime in our community as well, so if we can have an impact on the drug situation, it will affect our property crimes,” he said.

Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement currently has a job posting to become a non-confirmed police officer. People have until Friday, Sept. 22 to submit an application online at the Butte-Silver Bow career page.