ARVADA, Colo. (KDVR) — The death of Arvada Police Officer Dillon Vakoff once again shows the danger of working in law enforcement. Vakoff is the second Colorado officer to be shot and killed this year.
Now former 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler wonders if these tragedies will impact police recruiting during an already tough time.
“Every single call could end up being that last call that you go out to,” Brauchler said. “Recruiting, retaining qualified law enforcement is as big a struggle as I’ve seen in the 27 years I’ve been in this business,” he said.
The FOX31 Data Desk found that Denver and Aurora police forces are still down 7% from 2020 and quit rates are high. As of August 2022, the Denver Sheriff’s Office was short 281 deputies, the Denver Police Department was down 168 officers and Aurora Police was down 40.
“Response times are at an all-time high, staffing is at an all-time low,” retired Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz said.
“It certainly creates a pause effect, if you will, where people are thinking either do I want to stay in this profession or do I want to get into this profession,” he said.
In the past, Metz said, agencies have been able to continue recruiting after a line of duty death, but things are different now.
“What’s happened, particularly in the last 2 years, is that officers are feeling as if they are not getting the type of community support that they used to have,” Metz said.