PHOENIX — In keeping with his promise to be more engaged with the public, Phoenix Police Chief Joe Yahner has created and implemented a new Police Recruitment Team.
The six-member team will search for applicants throughout the community as the Phoenix Police Department begins hiring new officers for the first time in six years.
“When we go into the type of hiring that we are going to be going into for the next few years, we have to have people who are here reaching out and we have to have qualified applicants who are coming forward,” Phoenix Police Sgt. Trent Crump said.
The Police Recruitment Team will be tasked with directing the department’s efforts towards attracting qualified and diverse police officer applicants.
When the department underwent a hiring freeze in 2008, its demographic makeup became disproportionate to the city’s demographic makeup according to Crump.
“We have had a demographic change in Phoenix over the past few years and so we want to make sure that we mirror that community and we represent that community,” Crump said.
Police data shows there is a disproportionate amount of white officers when compared to Phoenix’s population.
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According to Crump, the team’s efforts will include participating in sponsored minority recruitment and job fair activities, hosting police applicant orientation meetings, and increasing efforts to employ women in policing.
Phoenix City Councilwoman Kate Gallego recently urged the department to focus on recruiting more female officers.
“I want (them) to speak with women who have not traditionally been a majority of our police department and assure them that it is a great career path,” Gallego said.
As of August 2014, 87 percent of sworn Phoenix officers were men. According to 2010 Census data, Phoenix’s population is 49.85 percent women.
Sgt. Crump said the members of the team will be recruiting women as well as other groups currently underrepresented within the department.
“(The team’s job) will be to hit local areas, it will be diverse, it will be doing orientations, they will be going to community groups and educational faith-based organizations of all sorts,” he said.
In a statement, Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski applauded Chief Yahner for creating the Police Recruitment Team.
“The efforts of Chief Yahner reflects the heart and soul of our officers and our combined desire to connect, protect and assist our citizens in the best possible manner,” Nowakowski said. “As we begin to hire more officers, it is critical we provide the best training and resources available to ensure we are maintaining trust and compassion as we serve and protect.”