INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — As “Defund the Police” takes center stage in many conversations nationwide, one might assume law enforcement agencies are having a difficult time enticing people to join their departments. For IMPD, they are noticing significantly higher interests for their department.
“Last week’s numbers were definitely amazing,” Officer Samone Burris said. “They had roughly about 62 people for their PAR session last time.”
PAR, or pre-academy readiness, sessions give people interested in joining IMPD a chance to learn more about the department, the agility test and what kind of person is best suited for the department. This week, a diverse group of around 40 people came to the PAR event. That is up from the five to 30 people who participated pre-COVID19.
“It’s amazing because just with everything that’s going on in the world, they’re still very interested and amped up to be police officers,” Burris said.
Recruiter Babacar “Babs” Diouf detailed a 9 to 12 month period of training, and vetting, before a person would receive a conditional offer.
“We want somebody with good moral character, somebody courageous,” Diouf said.
It is encouraging to see the interest in joining IMPD considering the amount of officers eligible to retire. The Fraternal Order of Police reports for every 10 IMPD officers, four of them can retire immediately. FOP Chaplain Chris Holland talks with officers every day, and admits morale is a struggle.
“A lot of your conversations today is trying to help officers see their way through not quitting or not retiring,” Holland said.
IMPD reported in early June they did not see any sudden retirements following the May protests and the separate May riots. From May 25 until July 13, four officers resigned and three retired.
That is an increase of one retirement and one resignation over the same time frame last year. Having the perspective of veteran officers is something the FOP insists is vital.
“Their expertise and their wisdom and their knowledge of the job is so desperately needed by the young recruits that are coming in, and the young officers that are coming in,” Holland said. “I think it can reach a very dangerous level if we keep pressing people. They do have options. I don’t think you and I want those options to take place across the board.”
Correction: As of July 15, IMPD has 1,690 sworn officers. It was incorrectly reported IMPD has 1,600 officers as of June 8, rather it had 1,660 officers as of that date. On January 1, 2020, they reportedly had 1,716. A spokesperson for the department said they do not comment on “unplanned separations.”
They did add historically, most retirements occur within the first quarter of the year.