NORMAL, Ill. (WMBD) — Staffing shortages are affecting every industry in the United States, including law enforcement.

Local law enforcement agencies including the Normal Police Department and McLean County Sheriff’s Office are looking for more officers.

“I think right now currently we’re down seven to eight officers, but we are hiring several over the next few months,” said Public Information Officer for Normal PD, Brad Park.

When there’s an opening at a city or town level, it trickles down to the county sheriff’s offices as well.

“Being that we don’t pay as well in our area as municipal departments, we’re one of the first places they look,” said McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage.

Sandage said a short staff is leading to many officers racking up overtime hours.

“You never want to burn out your staff, never want to affect the morale of your staff, but when they’re having to work large amounts of hours they are, it definitely has impact,” Sandage said.

Sandage said right now, the department is seeing a greater need for corrections officers in the jail. He said it’s a tough job that has only gotten tougher in the current state of affairs.

“COVID and the Illinois Dept of Corrections and their failure to accept our inmates that have been sentenced to them has had a snowball effect,” Sandage said.

In Normal, the police department recently signed on to the 30 By 30 initiative. It’s a nationwide goal of increasing the representation of women in police recruiting classes to 30% by 2030.

“We’re very proud to have a lot of female officers, and we want to continue to get females onto the police force,” Park said.

“We’ve seen steady increases in women’s representation in policing, but since the 1990s, the rates have slowed to a standstill,” said Illinois State University criminal justice professor Dr. Cara Rabe-Hemp.

Rabe-Hemp said there’s a worry those rates could start declining, adding a woman’s perspective is crucial to police departments.

“There’s some empirical research that suggests women police officers are less likely to use force against citizens, especially excessive force,” Rabe-Hemp said.

The Bloomington Police Department and Illinois State University Police have also signed onto the 30 by 30 initiative.

As of 2021, only around 12% of cops in the United States are females.