INDIANAPOLIS — IMPD is pinning its hopes on a TV commercial, better pay and enhanced crime fighting technology to encourage anyone interested in a law enforcement career to apply to patrol Indianapolis streets.

“Join IMPD Week” includes a 30-second commercial profiling a handful of young officers in a department that has hired more than 700 new patrolmen and women in the last eight years.

First-year wages have climbed 55% during that period to pay rookie officers nearly $72,000 in salary and bonuses during their initial year on the force.

“I invite everyone who wants to help create a more peaceful and more prosperous Indianapolis to come and join in IMPD’s recruitment week,” said Mayor Joe Hogsett.

As of this morning, IMPD had 1,543 officers in its ranks with a budget to hire 300 more.

”We probably need about 250. I’d be okay with about a hundred, 150 to start us out and get us in the right position,” said Chief Randal Taylor after a weekend that saw his officers respond to 11 shootings and five gun homicides plus a shooting in Broad Ripple that left the ground littered with up to 100 bullets and fragments and shell casings that left a man wounded.

”We all know cops are cut a little bit different,” Taylor said. “We run towards gunfire and I believe those people still exist out there. I don’t think that’s going to be a deterrent for them. We all know the job is dangerous but I believe there is a group of people who we just haven’t tapped into yet that understand that and are willing to put their lives on the line to make Indianapolis the best place it can be, a safe place.”

IMPD has consistently lost approximately 100 officers per year to retirement and separation or transfer to another police agency.

This spring it has 19 recruit officers currently in field training and another 25 set to graduate in September with two more classes scheduled to begin later this year.

”Earlier this year we had about 500 some applications,” said Commander Ida Williams who hopes to see the number of recruits almost double in upcoming classes. “We had about half of those folks show up for the test and then from that half we get another half who passes the written, who passes the physical fitness ability test. We start out with about 500 plus to get to those 45 seats.”

Twelve years ago Charles Parker was one of those recruits who came out of the Town & Terrace community near 42nd Street and Post Road to become on officer.

”How did it shape me? It was not as bad then as it is now. The toughness is what got me where I am,” said Parker who signed up with IMPD after a stint in the military and work at the Marion County Juvenile Detention Center. ”Growing up on Post nobody ever told me I could be a police officer. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even know I could be a police officer. I had a brother that went to prison. Nowhere in the schools or churches no one ever said, ‘Hey, you could become a police officer.’”

Parker said that growing up he knew people who either died from violence or went to prison while he went to work protecting the city and it’s a message he shares with other young people from his old neighborhood.

”It’s a hard sell if I’m an individual telling him,” he said. “Where it needs to start is with the community. It needs to start with his parents, it needs to start with his grandparents, his friends, the schools, the pastors, it has to be the community that kind of provides the information and tells the individual, ‘Hey, listen, you can do this and we want to see you do this.’”

Anyone interested in applying and who meets the department’s initial requirements can visit their website here.

IMPD is also hosting several events this week that the public is welcome to attend for “Join IMPD Week.”

Monday, May 8

Recruiting Table at 16 Tech from 11 to 2 p.m. at 16 Tech Innovation District, 1220 Waterway Blvd.

Tuesday, May 9

P30 from 2 to 5 p.m. at 3039 N. Post Road.

Pre-Academy Readiness from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at IMPD Training Academy at 901 N. Post Road.

Wednesday, May 10

Recruiting Table at 5.11 Tactical from 3 to 7 p.m. at 5650 E. 86th Street.

Thursday, May 11

Recruiting Table at the Indianapolis Zoo from noon to 4 p.m. at 1200 W. Washington Street.

Friday, May 12

Recruiting Table at the Grand Prix from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 4790 W. 16th Street.

Saturday, May 13

Recruiting Table at Asian Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Indiana Historical Society, 450 W. Ohio Street.