COBB COUNTY, Ga. (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Law enforcement agencies across the country are struggling to recruit new officers. One police chief blames social media and the news for what he calls tarnishing the image of law enforcement.
Cobb Police Chief Mike Register says because there's such a poor perception of police, not as many people are applying to become officers.
"It's the image of when the officer does everything right and how social media attacks that officer," said Chief Register.
While the perception of law enforcement may be a nationwide problem, Cobb is also struggling to retain and recruit new officers because the starting pay is lower than some neighboring jurisdictions. Right now Cobb is down about 80 officers.
Steve Gaynor with the Fraternal Order of Police in Cobb says the situation is dire. Just this week an armed man attacked an officer in Cobb.
"There was no backup and not enough officer to form a perimeter. That officer's life was in jeopardy," said Gaynor.
Public safety supporters packed the County Commission meeting Tuesday night urging county leaders to increase the pay and benefits for public safety employees.
Chief Register says better pay and benefits is important and improving public perception will help them compete with other agencies.
"We're truly are out there in this uniform making the world a better place and there is so much caring among our young people, they want to help, and we have to communicate to them that being in public safety, you can make a difference," said Chief Register.