CLEVELAND (WJW) – The Phoenix Police Department is trying to attract current officers and new recruits from Northeast Ohio to enforce the law in Arizona’s “Valley of the Sun.”
A shortage of applicants to fill open positions created by retiring officers in Phoenix is prompting the recruiting campaign.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Phoenix Police are conducting recruit testing at the Marriott Key Tower in Downtown Cleveland. They are placing a premium on officers with experience.
“I don’t feel it’s us taking from other agencies because I feel we all want the same ultimate goal, which is to staff our police departments with a good pool of diverse applicants to choose from,” said Officer English Quals, a spokesperson for Phoenix Police.
The sales pitch for the Phoenix Police Department includes a $7,500 hiring bonus.
“Unfortunately, we’re not getting a lot of applicants and that’s locally as well as out of state, so I think like other departments, we’re looking to expand our horizons,” said Officer Quals.
The head of the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association says the police recruiters in Phoenix may be capitalizing on an uncertain political climate in Cleveland for police officers.
“Across the nation, it’s hard to recruit new police officers and we desperately need police officers here,” said CPPA President Jeff Follmer.
In addition to current open positions on the Cleveland force, Follmer says officers are concerned about Issue 24, a Charter Amendment on the Nov. 2 ballot that would create a new civilian police commission with broad powers, including the disciplining of officers.
“We’re about 125,150 officers short right now. If that passes, we will probably lose by the first quarter of next year about 400 officers. There’s 300 eligible to retire in November alone,” said Follmer.
The sales pitch to some of those officers by Phoenix Police will focus on the difference between the weather in Northeast Ohio and Arizona.
According to Officer English Quals, “Personally, I couldn’t be in that cold and snow, shoveling every day.”
In response, Jeff Follmer told FOX 8, “You know what, I’ll take this great city over the weather any day.”