Since 2010, the number of people applying to become MNPD officers has dropped by more than 50 percent.
According to the department, 4,792 people applied to join the force in 2010, and 1,099 took the civil service exam. But last year, just 2,136 people applied to become police officers and 539 took th exam.
"It's about a 56 percent drop-off" MNPD Deputy Chief Damian Huggins explained. He said there were several factors that contribute to the sharp decline in applicants, including increased scrutiny.
"Nowadays it's combing with the amount of of things we're requiring officers to do and the high levels of scrutiny to be a police officer and the expectations of the community," Huggins said. That is combined with increased competition from the private sector and from other departments across the state.
The trend isn't only impacting the MNPD. Huggins said 70 percent of departments are seeing significant deceases. According to Bureau of Justice Statistics, the number of law enforcement officers across the country fell by more than 20,000 from 2013 to 2016.
In Nashville, the sharp decline in applicants means fewer officers on the street. The MNPD is authorized to have 1,429 officers on patrols, but is currently 82 officers short of that mark.