On Friday the Phoenix Police Department will start accepting applications so they can finally hire some new officers. Even though they plan to hire 300 officers over the next three years, we won't see the additional boots for some time.
"Just going through the hiring process takes months. So from the time maybe somebody applies to the time they're on the street, you could be looking at a year," said retired Phoenix assistant chief Andy Anderson. "You have the background, you have a written test, a physical fitness test, an oral test before you're hired."
Anderson traveled cross-country to recruit during the last hiring push in 2007.
"We had a picture of a swimming pool in November and December and we were going to places like Chicago and New York so it wasn't too hard to get people's attention," Anderson said.
But it's not an easy process and separates the wheat from the chaff.
"We hire about 10 percent of the people that apply. So if they're looking for 300 people, they're going to have to talk to 3,000 people," Anderson said. He said as Phoenix opens the floodgates, we could see Valley officers in smaller departments looking to suit up.
"It's not just pay, it's opportunity," Anderson said. "At the larger agency you have a broader spectrum of work, more opportunity for advancement."
The department hasn't made any significant hires since January of 2009. Since then, Phoenix has lost 551 officers. They expect to lose 175 more who retire, get fired, or quit.
We sat down with Police Chief Daniel Garcia. In light of the controversy surrounding our most recent officer-involved shooting, as well as the chaos in Ferguson, is he concerned fewer people will feel compelled to apply?
"The law enforcement profession isn't for everybody," Chief Garcia said. "It's not a job, it is a profession. It is a calling. I believe there are people out there wanting to do this job."
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