[Watch previous FOX 8 I-Team coverage in the player above.]
Under an ordinance approved in 2012, the division could only hire officers younger than 40. An amendment proposed by Mayor Justin Bibb to raise that age ceiling to 55 years old had its first reading during council’s Monday, Nov. 13, meeting. If approved, it would take effect immediately.
Read the ordinance below:
“Solving multilayered problems requires multipronged approaches, which involves historic investments, leveraging partnerships, and updating policy – all key components of my RISE Initiative announced less than four months ago,” Mayor Bibb is quoted in a Monday news release. “This latest amendment will help attract additional candidates to join our police force who may have previously not considered doing so. We’re hopeful this change, combined with other recent actions my administration has taken, will help improve our overall recruitment efforts within our Division of Police.”
The FOX 8 I-Team first reported on the policy proposal last week. The proposal comes at a time when the city police department is down more than 200 officers.
“We remain committed to attracting the best candidates to join our ranks and this proposal supports our vision to continue to evolve as a progressive police agency,” Police Chief Wayne Drummond is quoted in the release. “This will allow us to reach more individuals who are interested and capable of serving our community. We’re grateful to Mayor Bibb, as well as City Council, for their support in making progress in our recruitment efforts.”
The city also recently approved a 50% pay increase and up to $5,000 signing bonuses for police officers and a jumpstart for recruits with previous military experience or degrees. Since then, the volume of new applications grew 45%, with nearly 300 new applications between July and September, according to a social media post.
Interested recruits can apply online.
The amendment would not change the age ceiling for city firefighters, which will remain at 40 years old.