BY D’ARCY EGAN
Local law enforcement officers were honored last week at the Kiwanis Club of Port Clinton luncheon at the Port Clinton Elks Lodge (read story here). Port Clinton Police Chief Rob Hickman and Ottawa County Sheriff Steve Levorchick were rightfully proud of their staffs, but both law enforcement leaders bemoaned the lack of minority recruitment.
“We only have one black officer in the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department, and it is not for a lack of effort,” Levorchick said. “It is because of a lack of applicants. We recruit minorities, because we know we need more diversity in this day and age, but it’s very difficult to find and hire them.”
Levorchik said the applicant pool has bottomed out when it comes to new officers in general, not just minority officers.
Recruiting law enforcement officers as a whole is extremely difficult these days, said Hickman.
“A couple of decades ago, we would get 75 applicants for a law enforcement position,” said Hickman. “Now, we’re lucky if we get 10 applicants. Amy Pugh was our first female officer, and we stole her from the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Department (in 2018).
In the history of the Port Clinton Police Department, there have only been two black officers, said Hickman. Both were reserve officers.
“Well-qualified officers are hard to find, and being a police officer today is a very difficult job, both mentally and physically. It’s a fact of life that few men or women want to do the job any more.”