Negative spotlight affecting those wanting to become police officers?

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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Riots in Baltimore and violence in Ferguson. Now those sworn to protect and serve are sometimes becoming targets themselves.

But will that keep men and women from wanting to become police officers?

Even through the negativity, 22-year old Matthew Oyster from Fort Myers still wants to go to police academy and wear the badge.

“Helping people. I have always loved to do it,” said Oyster.

But national police training consultant David Grossi tells WINK News he believes those, like Oyster, dreaming to be a law enforcement officer may have a change of heart.

“This new trend as far as charging officers, indicting officers, arresting officers for their actions on the street. That can be kind of disturbing,” said Grossi.

Grossi fears in the very near future, because many now quickly point the finger at officers for aggressive force, they will have fewer and fewer qualified candidates going in to the academy.

“The danger is really going to be an individual deciding not to get into the law enforcement profession when they have worked four years in college and thinking, ‘man, I could go to jail now if somebody deems I have done something wrong,'” said Grossi.

“I don’t see it that way,” said police academy instructor and retired police officer Scott Griffith.

Griffith says right now he sees no shortage.

“Men and woman from all walks of life signing up to join our ranks and I think that is going to continue,” said Griffith.

“I think what will be on their mind the most is when I am scrutinized, will it be fair,?” said Griffith.

The Fort Myers Police Department says they have seen no change in recruitment. Since January, FMPD says they have had over 1,000 applications from those wanting to enter the academy and work at FMPD.

A spokesperson from the Cape Coral Police Department released this statement to WINK News:

“The Cape Coral Police Department has not seen any detrimental effect on recruiting efforts as a result of some of the recent incidents that have played out in the national media.  We find that individuals who have a passion to serve as Police Officers see these events for what they are and accept that they are just part of the job,” said Det. Sgt. Dana Coston.

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