GRPD aims to fill 21 vacancies and diversify recruitment

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) – The Grand Rapids Police Department is hiring and trying to increase diversity.

GRPD organized a recruitment event at Garfield Park High School on Monday to provide information on the position and go through the physical tests required for licensed police officers.

Kristen Rogers, deputy chief of the department, said law enforcement had 21 open positions.

“We want really good people to come out here and work here,” Rogers said. “I think whenever we can diversify, every employee in our department, the better off a department … we are.”

The department was subjected to the intensified examination fatal shooting of Patrick Lyoya by officer Chris Schurr this spring.

GRPD adds new approaches to finding more diverse candidates and finding ways to address these issues.

“People really need to humanize themselves behind the badge. Something can happen in any profession that doesn’t give that profession a good reputation,” Rogers said.

The department has been criticized for the lack of diversity in its most recent senior class. Rogers said they sought more guidance from community organizations.

GRPD says it is working to increase salaries for new officers and find ways to reach new applicants, such as visiting historic black colleges and military bases.

The department also sponsors candidates to enter the Police Academy.

Retirements in the department remain a challenge. A low unemployment rate has meant potential recruits can find jobs in other fields.

“When I started 27 years ago, I tested with 1,000 people. Now we have kids testing with 34 other people,” Rogers said. “You really do have a great opportunity if you want to get into law enforcement, but there are fewer candidates overall.”

If you want to know more about the openings, visit GRPD aims to fill 21 vacancies and diversify recruitment

Dais Johnston

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