The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department is looking to add more than 80 new officers to its ranks by mid-July.
For years, fewer people have applied to become police officers nationwide. IMPD leaders say that in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic, political tensions in the city and other parts of the country have led to a decrease in recruits.
“We are all struggling just nationally to recruit good men and women to join this profession,” IMPD Commander Ida Williams said.
Councillor Paul Annee (R-District 23) said IMPD has recently faced a significant amount of public scrutiny. At a city-county council meeting earlier this month, members of the public voiced opposition to IMPD receiving additional funding for technology improvements.
Department staff say they have the money to hire more officers -- IMPD was granted an additional $7 million in its budget this year, some of which will go toward recruitment.
“The challenge we face today is we have the money, what we now need are the officers,” Mayor Joe Hoggsett said at a press conference Monday.
IMPD currently has about 1,660 officers, and hopes to increase its numbers to 1,743. Williams emphasized that while the department is looking to hire more officers, she doesn’t believe there are parts of the city that are under-policed.
IMPD, Hogsett and the city-county council declared this week “Join IMPD Week.” Now that the city is reopening from pandemic restrictions, the department will do recruitment efforts in person to more effectively reach potential officers, such as attending college fairs and taking those interested in applying on ride alongs.
IMPD Sgt. Michelle Lewis said diversity is an important factor when considering new applicants.
“I think that it’s very important for our citizens to see people that look like them when they arrive on a run,” she said.
In addition to recruiting people of color, Lewis said, IMPD is trying to recruit more women to join the force. Women are usually more compassionate and have qualities that IMPD is looking for in applicants, she said.
IMPD aims to have women make up 30% of its police officers by 2030. Currently about 13% of officers are women. IMPD is hosting workshops specifically targeting women to apply, especially those who have children and may be hesitant, Williams said.
“You can be who you are, you can be that mother, you can be that wife and be a police officer at the same time,” Williams said.
Current police officers in other cities or states can apply until the end of the month, and those who are new to policing have until July 16 to submit an application.