Phoenix Police Community Recruiting

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Phoenix police are looking to recruit more officers who grew up in the community. Recruitment efforts started last year after years of a hiring freeze. We’ll hear from a representative of the department.

TED SIMONS: PHOENIX POLICE LOOKING TO RECRUIT OFFICERS WITH AN EMPHASIS ON COMMUNITY-BASED POLICING. THE IDEA IS TO FIND CANDIDATES FROM CERTAIN COMMUNITIES WHO CAN GO BACK TO THOSE COMMUNITIES IN A LAW ENFORCEMENT CAPACITY. ALSO EFFORTS HAVE BEEN STEPPED UP TO RECRUIT MORE FIREFIGHTERS. HERE TO TELL US MORE ABOUT POLICE RECRUITMENT IS CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD, A RECRUITING OFFICER FOR THE CITY OF PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT. AND WITH MORE ON RECRUITMENT FOR THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR., DIVISION CHIEF FOR THE PHOENIX FIRE DEPARTMENT. GOOD TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE. COMMUNITY EFFORT, TRYING TO GET -- TALK TO US, IT SOUNDS AS THOUGH THERE'S A CONCERTED EFFORT TO FIND FOLKS AND GET THEM BACK INTO THE COMMUNITY.

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: THAT'S CORRECT. WHAT WE'RE DOING IS GOING OUT INTO THE COMMUNITIES AND REACHING OUT TO DIFFERENT ADVISORY BOARDS AND LETTING THEM KNOW, HEY, WE'RE HIRING AND ANY EVENTS THAT YOU HAVE A LARGE VENUE, WE CAN TALK TO PEOPLE AND TELL THEM ABOUT THE OPPORTUNITIES THAT THE PHOENIX POLICE DEPARTMENT HAS. WE'RE GOING TO COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES AND HIGH SCHOOLS.

TED SIMONS: HOW DOES THAT CHANGE FROM PAST RECRUITMENTS?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: I DON'T THINK IT'S CHANGED. I THINK WE'RE MORE ACTIVE AND SEE THE NEED, WE HAVEN'T HIRED SINCE 2009. SO 2015 IS WHEN WE ACTIVELY STARTED HIRING AGAIN, THERE WAS A GAP WHERE WE WEREN'T ABLE TO HIRE.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS REQUIREMENTS, HAVE THOSE CHANGED OR THE POOL OF CANDIDATES, LOOKING AT THEM DIFFERENTLY OR FOCUSING ON DIFFERENT THINGS?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: WE'VE KEPT OUR STANDARDS STRONG. AS LONG AS THEY'RE 21 BY THE TIME THEY GRADUATE. A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, GED, A U.S. CITIZEN AND A GOOD CITIZEN.

TED SIMONS: FIRE DEPARTMENT, WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: GOOD, ATHLETIC PEOPLE, SELF-MOTIVATED, HIGHLY DISCIPLINED INDIVIDUALS.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS PREVIOUS RECRUITMENTS, HAVE THINGS CHANGED. MORE IN THE WAY OF EDUCATION OR THIS, THAT AND THE OTHER, WHAT ARE YOU SEEING OUT THERE?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: THERE'S A LOT OF TECHNOLOGY IN TODAY'S WORLD AND WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO CAN OPERATE THOSE TECHNOLOGY PIECES IN OUR DEPARTMENT.

TED SIMONS: HOW LONG HAS IT BEEN SINCE YOU'VE HIRED.

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: WE'VE BEEN HIRING THE LAST COUPLE YEARS.

TED SIMONS: YOU'VE HAD AN EASIER TIME THAN THE POLICE DEPARTMENT WHERE HIRING IS CONCERNED.

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: WE'VE HAD A LOT OF PEOPLE TURNOUT FOR OUR TESTING PROCESSES. WE'VE BEEN HIRING HEAVILY, 2013.

TED SIMONS: THE TESTING PROCESS, HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: A LONG PROCESS, IT'S ABOUT A YEAR TO GET A JOB.

TED SIMONS: WHAT'S INVOLVED?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: A WRITTEN TEST, A PHYSICAL AGILITY THROUGH THE COMMUNITY COLLEGES. AND THERE THEN THERE'S A TWO ORAL BOARD PANEL YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH.

TED SIMONS: REALLY?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: YES.

TED SIMONS: YOU HAVE TO SIT IN FRONT OF FOLKS AND PRESENT YOURSELF?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: CORRECT.

TED SIMONS: THE P.D., THERE'S A PHYSICAL AND WRITTEN TEST -- HOW DO THE TESTS WORK?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: YOU APPLY ONLINE AND THEN YOU'RE INVITED TO THE WRITTEN TEST AND ONCE YOU'RE SUCCESSFUL, YOU'RE INVITED TO THE PHYSICAL AGILITY, WHICH IS A 1.5 MILE RUN, SIT-UPS, PUSH-UPS AND SCALING A 6 FOOT WALL. ONCE YOU'RE SUCCESSFUL THERE, YOU'RE GIVEN A BACKGROUND PACKET AND THAT STARTS THE PROCESS AS FAR AS THE BACKGROUND CHECK.

TED SIMONS: DID I READ 35% FAIL THE PHYSICAL TEST ON THE FIRST TRY?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: PROBABLY CLOSER TO 25%.

TED SIMONS: OK, BUT CAN TRY AGAIN?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: YES, YOU HAVE THREE ATTEMPTS WITHIN A YEAR. IF YOU DON'T MAKE THE FIRST ATTEMPT, PHOENIX IS UNIQUE, WE'RE OFFERING A PHYSICAL AGILITY CLASS FOR THOSE THAT PASS THE WRITTEN TEST, WHERE WE PRACTICE WITH THEM AND RUNNING, SCALING THE WALLS AND SIT-UPS AND PUSH-UPS.

TED SIMONS: CONSIDERING THE TENSION BETWEEN POLICE DEPARTMENTS AND COMMUNITIES AROUND THE COUNTRY, HERE IN PHOENIX AS WELL BUT OTHER PARTS OF THE COUNTRY, MORE SOME PLACES BUT IT'S THERE, HOW IS THAT IMPACTING RECRUITMENT?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: IT HASN'T IMPACTED RECRUITMENT. BEING A POLICE OFFICER IS A CALLING. SOME PEOPLE- WELL I BELIEVE ONCE YOU MAKE THAT DECISION TO BECOME A POLICE OFFICER, YOU UNDERSTAND THE RISKS AND UNDERSTAND THERE ARE RISK FACTORS IN BECOMING A POLICE OFFICER AND YOUR WHOLE MOTIVE IS BECAUSE YOU LOVE YOUR COMMUNITY. YOU LOVE BEING OUT THERE AND TALKING TO PEOPLE AND CATCHING THE BAD GUY.

TED SIMONS: THAT IS WHY COMMUNITY POLICING IS SO IMPORTANT. BECAUSE THE ENFORCEMENT HAPPENS WITHIN THE COMMUNITY, WHERE SOME OF THESE PEOPLE COME FROM.

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: YES.

TED SIMONS: THAT'S GOT TO HELP.

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: YES, SIR.

TED SIMONS: FIRE FIGHTING, DO YOU LOOK FOR FOLKS IN CERTAIN COMMUNITIES TO GO BACK TO THOSE COMMUNITIES OR IS THAT NOT SOMETHING THAT IS EMPHASIZED?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: IT IS EMPHASIZED. THAT'S OUR BEST RECRUITMENT. I REMEMBER GOING BACK INTO THE COMMUNITIES THEY CAME FROM AND RECRUITING INDIVIDUALS WHO WOULD BE GOOD FIREFIGHTERS. THIS IS A GREAT CAREER BUT IT IS A HARD CAREER. WE NEED INDIVIDUALS WHO CAN LAST A LONG PERIOD OF TIME DOING THE WORK THEY DO.

TED SIMONS: HOW DO YOU HAVE CONVINCE SOMEONE, THIS IS SOMETHING -- THIS IS -- WHY YOU RISK YOUR LIFE. THERE'S A POSSIBILITY YOU COULD RISK YOUR LIFE FOR A PAY THAT ISN'T UP TO WHAT OTHERS THINK IS HUGE. HOW DO YOU CONVINCE THEM?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: I AGREE IT'S A CALLING, ONCE YOU COME AND RIDE ALONG WITH US AND SEE WHAT WE DO AND HELP PEOPLE, YOU SEE THE BEST AND WORST OF HUMANITY AND ONCE YOU KNOW THAT YOU CAN DO THAT, WE DON'T HAVE TO RECRUIT. YOU WANT TO DO IT.

TED SIMONS: HAVE YOU SEEN -- I KNOW THE POLICE DEPARTMENTS HAVE HAD PROBLEMS AROUND THE COUNTRY. HAVE YOU SEEN THAT WITHIN THE FIRE DEPARTMENTS?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: EVERYBODY LOVES A FIREFIGHTER.

TED SIMONS: THE SPOTTED DOG AND THE WHOLE NINE YARDS.

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: AND WE'RE LUCKY ENOUGH TO HAVE ONE OF THE BEST FIRE DEPARTMENTS IN THE NATION, ALONG WITH P.D. AND WE HAVE A GOOD PARTNERSHIP WITH OUR P.D. PARTNERS IN PHOENIX.

TED SIMONS: THAT TENSION ISN'T NECESSARILY TRANSFERRED TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENT?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: NOT NECESSARILY TRANSFERRED OVER.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE POLICE DEPARTMENT IS CONCERNED, HOW DO YOU APPROACH THAT TENSION. IT'S OUT THERE. YOU READ ABOUT IT AND HEAR ABOUT IT, WHAT DO YOU TELL RECRUITS AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR IN RECRUITS?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: BE TRANSPARENT AND HONEST, IF YOU'RE DEALING WITH AN INDIVIDUAL, LET THEM KNOW WHY I'M ARRESTING YOU AND HAVING THAT COMMUNICATION LINE OPEN HELPS OUT A LOT.

TED SIMONS: HAS THAT INSTRUCTION CHANGED OVER THE YEARS?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: WE'VE ALWAYS BEEN AHEAD OF THE GAME. WE HAVE THIS DEESCALATION TRAINING THAT WE RECEIVE AND ITS GOING NATIONWIDE. WHEN WE CONTACT AN INDIVIDUAL WE ARE LOOKING TO DEESCALATE THE HIGH TENSION THAT IS THERE. WE TALK TO THEM. COMMUNICATION IS VERY IMPORTANT IN THIS JOB AND THAT'S WHAT WE'RE STRESSING IS THE COMMUNICATION.

TED SIMONS: FOR SOMEONE WATCHING THINKING I COULD BE INTERESTED IN THIS LINE OF WORK, WHERE DO THEY GO?

CHRISTOPHER MCCLOUD: WWW.PHOENIX.GOV/POLICE.

TED SIMONS: AND IF THEY'RE THINKING, I WANT IT GET THE BUG, WHERE DO THEY GO?

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: WWW.PHOENIX.GOV/FIRE.

TED SIMONS: SO BASICALLY .GOV/POLICE AND .GOV/FIRE.

TIMOTHY GAMMAGE SR: CORRECT.

TED SIMONS: THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

Christopher McCloud: Recruiting officer for the City of Phoenix Police Department; Timothy Gammage Sr.: Division Chief for the Phoenix Fire Department

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