WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (KDVR) — Across Colorado, police departments are struggling to fill vacancies in a way never seen before. 

Resignations, the COVID-19 pandemic and police reform efforts are all playing a role, according to Wheat Ridge Police Chief Chris Murtha.

“We get very qualified people,” he said, “but we get fewer of them.” Murtha’s department is down five officers, and they’re feeling the impact.

“We have to ask people to wear more hats. We have to ask people to work more overtime. We have a lot more burnout,” he said. But Murtha believes there are passionate people out there who could fill the void. 

And he’s hoping a new recruitment video might do the trick.

Police recruitment video highlights job’s harsh reality

“There’s an edge to this video,” he said. “It’s not going to go out and sell you that everything’s going to be unicorns and lollipops. That’s not our job.”

The roughly 5-minute video showcases the ins and outs of being a police officer, highlighting tough interactions with the public, the dangers of the job and even the hectic schedule that requires nights, weekends, and holidays.

Murtha hopes it will strike a chord with someone eager to find a bigger purpose in life.

“It’s not the normal, standard recruitment video,” he said. “What we wanted to capture here is reality, and I’d say what we captured here is more reality than I’ve seen in any police recruitment video.”

Murtha said he understands the video may steer some away from a career in law enforcement, and he said that’s OK.

“I see the value in hiring the right people. I don’t care if we get five applicants if they’re five great people. It’s not about volume, it’s not about numbers, it’s about the right people. We have to build community trust, and it starts with hiring the right people,” he said.