South Bend Police Department experiences recruitment success
The South Bend Police department is seeing more potential officers apply than usual.
Wednesday, Chief Scott Ruszkowski told the Board of Public Safety that the applicant pool is twice its normal size.
“Our numbers of applicants have almost doubled since our last go around. We had about 103 applicants in this last batch,” Ruszkowski said.
It’s something the chief has been working toward for months.
The department has a short staff and has suffered from lack of applications.
Concurrent with a rebranding of the department, a recruitment push began.
In March, a vehicle advertising jobs was placed in front of the police headquarters.
“Obviously we’re our best salespeople. So being ambassadors of the police department for the police department,” Ruszkowski said.
Ken Garcia was hired on as one of those ambassadors.
He works with the press and runs social media for the department, so perspective applicants can see the fun parts of the job like community engagement.
“My role is to talk about what our officers are doing in the community,” Garcia said.
The department says this new recruitment strategy comes after a steady decline in applications, especially from young people.
The current round of applicants are the first ever who were able to apply online, rather than in person.
“It’s not been just a one department effort, it’s been all hands on deck,” Ruszkowski said.
While statistics are encouraging, the department is still short-staffed and already looking for its next group of recruits.