GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Police Department is hiring and looking to increase diversity.
GRPD organized a recruiting event at the Garfield Park gymnasium Monday to provide information about the position and go over the physical test required for licensed police officers.
Kristen Rogers, a deputy chief for the department, said the law enforcement agency has 21 openings.
“We want really good people to come here and want to work here,” Rogers said. “I think anytime we can diversify, any employees at our department, the better off a department … we are.”
The department has faced increased scrutiny following the deadly shooting of Patrick Lyoya by officer Chris Schurr this spring.
GRPD is adding new approaches to finding more diverse candidates and exploring ways to address these issues.
“People really need to humanize behind the badge. Every job profession might have something that occurs that brings not good standing to that profession,” Rogers said.
The department has been criticized for the lack of diversity in its most recent graduating class. Rogers said they have sought more guidance from community organizations.
GRPD says it is working to increase pay for starting officers and to find ways to reach new applicants, like visiting historically Black colleges and military bases.
The department also sponsors candidates to attend the police academy.
Retirements in the department remain a challenge. A low unemployment rate has meant potential recruits can find jobs in other areas.
“Back when I came on 27 years ago, I was testing with 1,000 people. Now we have kids that are testing with like 34 other people,” Rogers said. “You really have a great opportunity if you’re looking to get into law enforcement but it is less candidates overall.”
If you are interested in learning more about the openings, visit joinGRPD.com.