INDIANAPOLIS - Efforts to improve public safety in Indianapolis may be starting to pay off.
IMPD said its efforts to fill two new recruit classes are going extremely well. In fact they're bringing out applicants in droves.
Recruiting for police positions here hasn't always been an easy sale. But IMPD said the recent decision to add a new recruit class is coinciding with a renewed interest in public safety work.
After the recent budget agreement between Mayor Greg Ballard and Council Democrats, IMPD is trying to fill two recruit classes totaling 80 officers over the next year. And it doesn't look like that will be difficult.
The department said it already has several thousand applicants.
Some of those will wash out, of course, with problems like criminal convictions. But with so many to choose from, recruiters believe it will raise the bar on the quality of the people eventually chosen.
Officer Chris Wilburn, the point person on the recruitment program, said the department is looking for driven people who excel at challenges.
"Public safety is a profession,” said Wilburn. “It's a calling. And we're looking for men and women who are highly energized, who are self-starters, who are interested in winning, but more importantly who are interested in forging relationships with people. Because ultimately that's what it's about."
Among the applicants are a large number of college graduates and people already working in other professions, possibly seeking more secure employment than their current jobs offer in this economy.
The Fraternal Order of Police, which has been pushing for a new hiring campaign, is happy with the results so far.
President Bill Owensby said it's no secret IMPD is dangerously short on manpower.
Owensby said, "The hiring process that's going on now is definitely a step in the right direction. Our hope is that the city continues to look for ways to have an ongoing sustainable hiring process so that we are never in this position again."
And IMPD isn't just looking for regular officers.
The hiring sign is also out for reserve officers and 45 new civilian employees.