VINCENNES, Ind. (WTHI) - Jordan Thornton is a student at Vincennes University. He hasn't been in school long but knows what he wants to be.
Thornton explains, "I'm a full-time conservation law student so I'm getting my conservation enforcement degree. And that's in associates. Then after that, I will go to Purdue and get a bachelors in fire and emergency management and work through FEMA."
Thornton has a clear plan for his future. According to many of those agencies in attendance, there will be many jobs for students like Thornton.
David Burger with the Jasper police department says, "We're trying to reach a larger audience. The local guys aren't applying. I think we hired two guys last year and we had, we used up our list. I mean we're having trouble finding people."
Those troubles aren't confined to just to police departments. Many agencies say spikes in retirees are causing the need.
David Wence with the Indiana Department of Corrections says, "We're always in need of correctional officers. If you think of it, it's like a city and people are retiring or advancing their careers and things like that. So people move on to different parts in corrections."
That's no different for fire departments. Joel Heavner with the Carmel fire department says a third of his department is already at retirement age.
Heavner explains, "In our fire department in particular, after twenty years you have the option to retire. So a third of our department is day to day. A lot of them will stick around for maybe ten more years or so. But having the ability to fill those spots is going to be critical."
Making the outlook better for students like Thornton.
Thornton says, "It's kind of sad though with law enforcement not being really thought after. Not many people want to go into it. But it does open up doors."