'Doing Everything We Can': Police Department Planning to Recruit from Puerto Rico to Address Staffing Shortages


A Maryland police department is preparing to go to Puerto Rico in order to get recruits from the department as staffing shortages across the country continue.

Nicholas Collins, the commander of the recruiting department within the Prince George’s County Police Department (PGCPD) confirmed to IJR that the department would be traveling to Puerto Rico later this year as part of a recruiting campaign in order to reach the Spanish-speaking community.

“We do have a large Hispanic population in Prince George’s County,” Collins told IJR. “We have a very diverse county, that’s one of the reasons why we’re reaching out. We’re not just only focusing in Puerto Rico, we’re focusing across the county, across the state, and across the country we’ve traveled as far west as Texas. We have a trip planned to North Dakota to military bases. We’re really doing everything we can and hitting every possible angle we can to bring in new talent to our agency.”

Collins explained that the PGCPD has a goal of hiring roughly 1,800 officers for the department and that it is “in the process” of trying to hire around 300 officers over the course of the next three years. The department’s goal is to hire 100 officers each year for the next three years.

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For the fiscal year of 2023, which ended on June 30, the department had hired 66 officers, Collins told IJR, adding that recruitment numbers were “going up” and “trending in the right direction.”

“It’s a nationwide issue,” Collins said. “I think Prince George’s County is in a unique situation because of our geographic location. We have a lot of competitors, we have local competitors, but we also have something no one else in the country has, and that’s the federal government in our backdoor.”

Other police departments such as the Fairfax County Police Department in Virginia are offering hiring bonuses, along with certain incentives to candidates with military experience and who are able to speak a foreign language. The Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department even placed advertisements on buses and subways in New York City.

Police departments across the nation have been faced with low recruitment numbers over the past several years amid a mix of social, political, and economic issues, according to the International Association of Chiefs Police. The continued staffing shortages come amid rising crime numbers and the continued calls to defund the police.

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Collins highlighted the “diverse community” in the county, adding that there was “so much to offer” in the county.

“We have the University of Maryland, we have again, anything you could possibly want within a stone’s throw,” Collin said citing reasons for people to relocate to the state. “We have the mountains of Maryland within two hours where you can go skiing, and then two hours to the east you have Ocean City, Maryland which is a large beach resort community.”

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