Later this month, officer candidate recruit Kraig Webb heads to the academy to train to be an Elkton police officer.
"I want to become the change," said Webb, who is black. He is well aware of the media, the Black Lives Matter Movement and all the negativity against police officers in 2016 America.
"You can stand around and talk about what's going on or you do something about it," said Webb. Webb hails from New Jersey. He attended University of Maryland Eastern Shore and then worked in corrections at the Cecil County Detention Center. He was hired EPD and is enthusiastic about his career choice. Right now, Webb is working the duty desk at the department, answering phones and helping people who walk up to the window and need assistance.
In late October he'll train at the police academy to fulfill his goal of becoming and officer.
While Webb is new to the department, Captain Joseph V. Zurolo, spokesman for EPD, has worked there for more than 20 years. "I love my job. I love the community of Elkton and that I get a chance to give back to my community. There's been a Zurolo serving this community for five decades now if you include my uncle (Joe Zurolo - former Elkton Police and State Fire Marshal.)
One of Zurolo's focuses right now is recruiting. As of last week, Elkton police is short six officers - about 13 percent of their work force. That is due to attrition, mainly. An officer recently left EPD due to being hired by the Department of Homeland Security.
"It (being short staffed) doesn't affect our daily efforts. It hinders being proactive. It limits our community outreach, our street crimes unit, and other proactive initiatives," said Captain Zurolo. "It is harder to get cops now due to the tumultuous climate and all the negativity. Under normal circumstances people may choose this career. But not now with all the attacks and negativity."
"I've heard conversations where people are questioning whether they should continue in this career," he said.
The starting salary for a non-certified Elkton police officer is $41,000. Certified officers earns $42,766. Zurolo said when he started with the department 21 years ago, he earned $20,000 a year.
Applications are now being accepted by the department. Candidates must be 21 years of age, a U.S. citizen, have a high school diploma or equivalent, driver's license, moral character, good physical condition, and self initiative.
The selection process includes application, written test, physical agility test, oral review board, background investigation, drug screen, as well as medical, psychological and polygraph tests.