Right now, there are at least 40,000 job openings posted online across Maine.
It seems just about every industry is hiring, from businesses and schools to cities and towns.
That includes firefighters, EMTs and police officers.
Right now, 25 Maine police departments are severely short-staffed, according to the Maine Criminal Justice Academy. Boothbay Harbor is one of them.
At full staff, Boothbay Harbor has a police chief, a sergeant and five officers. In a few weeks, the town will be down to just the chief and one officer.
“I’m concerned about it,” Chief Doug Snyder said. “You know, when I was growing up, I wanted to be a police officer. We’d play cops and robbers, that kind of stuff. I don’t know if today’s kids do that anymore. They want to be TikTok stars and YouTubers and that kind of thing.”
Snyder said some officers left for other departments, while others left policing entirely.
“Like many of us across the state, they’re having challenges finding qualified applicants,” said Lincoln County Sheriff Todd Brackett, whose department plans to assist the town.
For 50 hours a week, at least one deputy will be in Boothbay Harbor to go on calls, even though the sheriff’s office is also short-staffed.
“Honestly, I haven’t been up to staff in almost five years,” Brackett said. “We’re going to do anything we can to help them through this hurdle. I’m sure they’ll get there. It’s a beautiful community. It’s a nice place to work and live.”
A housing shortage makes it difficult for people who want to work in Boothbay Harbor to relocate there. Plus, there’s a lot of competition for law officers, even within the county.
“We’re down at this peninsula,” Snyder said. “And everybody else is hiring. So they stop up at the sheriff’s office and Wiscasset and all these other police departments before they get down here. And they already have job offers.”
Snyder said he’s doing what he can to hire more police officers, but right now, he has no prospects.