Posted 07/16/2007 - 12:37:08pm by David Bank
Laurence Egerton, 56 years old, a rookie with the Wilmington, N.C. police department. Photo by Logan Wallace / AP
A shortage of recruits has caused some police departments around the country to open their ranks to second-career "encore cops" -- and many are finding they make even better officers than their younger colleagues.
"Many say older recruits might be less hotheaded and less trigger-happy, and that could mean the difference between escalating or defusing a tense situation," reports the Associated Press, which surveyed more than 50 police departments around the country.
The story quoted Gilbert Moore, a spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department, who said, "There is a movement afoot to focus more on people who are creative problem-solvers."
Lawrence Egerton, 56, became a police officer in Wilmington, N.C., after working as a social worker, and most recently, owning an auto mechanic business. Egerton said his maturity and life experience are assets.
"I tend to get a lot of cooperation just because of my age," he said. "Whether I'm arresting someone or getting people to divulge information, I think people assume that I've been out there for a long time."
The long shifts can be exhausting, however. "When I'm done, I have dinner, read the paper and go to bed," he said.