The Brownwood Police Department’s challenge in attracting applicants isn’t getting easier.

A Civil Service written exam for police officer applicants was to be given Wednesday in Brownwood, but the test was postponed because only one person had signed up to take it, Police Chief Virgil Cowin said.

The test is competitive and can’t be given to just one applicant, so it will be rescheduled, Cowin said.

“I want to tell you, people, this is not good,” Cowin said Wednesday at the Law Enforcement Center as he discussed the issue with a few other Police Department employees.

The department has four vacancies to fill.

Brownwood City Council members recently approved 13 percent pay raises for the police and fire departments, but the raises haven’t been in effect long enough for word to get around to potential applicants, Assistant Police Chief Garry Page said.

Cowin and other law enforcement officials said a shortage of applicants is a common challenge among departments in west-central Texas.

“We’re nervous about that,” Brown County Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Bobby Duvall said.

The Sheriff’s Office has, however, managed to interview three applicants for two openings, Duvall said.

He said while county commissioners have approved pay raises for the sheriff’s office for past two years, “we’re barely in the power curve” in competing for applicants.

“Texas has a really good economy. It’s a competitive job market,” Duvall said.