The task of recruiting candidates for law enforcement position in recent years has become more difficult than in years past. For one thing, the job is more risky than years ago. Secondly, people don’t seem to have the respect and appreciation of law enforcement in today’s crazy world of violence as they did in past years.

And now for full disclosure. This newspaper has a solid history of respecting and appreciating the work of law enforcement. Perhaps we haven’t always agreed with some of their actions, but overall we’ve heaped praise on their dedication, bravery and skills in protecting our communities, the people who live here and come here to visit, and the contributions officers and their families make in our communities.

This is a major reason we support the efforts of the City of Marinette and the Marinette Police Officers Association in working together to boost recruiting efforts for the department. The two parties agreed to amend the labor contract that will help advance the recruitment of qualified individuals who are capable and willing to handle the stress of the unknown going forward.

It’s not easy for police departments in small cities to uncover qualified candidates because these municipalities lack the resources necessary to accommodate their services. Occasionally police recruiters will find a promising candidate who prefers the challenges of a smaller town or city over a metropolitan district, but that is not the norm. Gone forever are the days when local police departments hired the burly candidate who played football for the local high school team, or was the family friend of a local politician who saw to it he was hired.

Law enforcement officers are much better educated and trained than the days when your grandfather patrolled the streets with a badge and a billy club and sometimes stopped to play ball or listen to the gripes of a bunch of neighborhood kids. Not only are officers better schooled and prepared, but they’re much better equipped to meet the challenges of street violence, the massive explosion of drug dealers and the increase in other crimes.

Mayor Steve Genisot probably summed it up best when he noted: “Law enforcement is a tough job to be in, it has a lot of scrutiny, it is a very challenging and dangerous job.”

We commend the mayor, city council and the Marinette Police Officers Association for working on contract language that will help the department recruit qualified officers.