CHIPPEWA FALLS (WQOW) - Over the years, law enforcement agencies around the Chippewa Valley have had a harder time finding people willing to bear their badge.
Chippewa Falls Police Chief Matt Kelm said when he was hired as an officer in 1999, there were well over 200 candidates for one position.
This year they've only had 31 applicants and the year before they only had 24.
To draw people to their station, Kelm said they promote their competitive wages, 12-hour shifts, new technology and welcoming community.
Kelm acknowledges that police have gotten a bad reputation over the years, and even recently, but said Chippewa Falls is very supportive of law enforcement.
"You really have to want to do this job nowadays," Kelm said. "The nice thing about working here is all the community support you have. You see things at the national level, they look terrible, right? Often, they are terrible. Here locally, these people love their police."
An employee of the Eau Claire Human Resources Department told News 18 the Eau Claire Police Department had 337 applications in one recruitment session 10 years ago. This year, they had 89.
Chippewa County Sheriff's Office officials say they easily got 100 applicants 12 years ago. Now they say they're lucky to get 20.