By Ariele Vaccaro
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is encouraging Milwaukee residents of diverse backgrounds to apply for a number of new public employee positions, including police officers, police aides, and fire cadets.
The Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission looks to recruit thirty-five new policemen and women due to a combination of officers retiring and a request by the mayor to add 12 new positions to the force.
Police officers will have starting salaries of about $49,000 and a litany of benefits, including health care and a pension plan.
The city is also looking to hire 26 police aides and 26 fire cadets who will start at $23,000 per year.
Mayor Barrett submitted a new budget that increases the police force from 1,868 sworn officers to 1,880. This number is nothing new to the Milwaukee Police Department (MPD). According to the mayor, his new plan includes as many officers as were employed in the force during 2012.
Some of the mayor’s motivation for augmenting the force lies in a desire for the police and fire departments to mirror the diverse public that they protect.
In a city that touts a multi-ethnic population, this is important to the mayor and fosters trust between the public and the police.
“I want people in the community to be policing their own community,” said Barrett.
Therefore, the city will give preference to applicants with diverse backgrounds.
In addition, applicants who reside in the City of Milwaukee are more likely to be selected among the thousands of applications that Mayor Barrett expects.
He sees Milwaukee residents as more likely to work with the police department for years to come, since he finds that they tend to remain in the city.
The application, according to Mayor Barrett, takes only about 10 minutes.
“It’s very simple. I filled it out myself.” However, applicants chosen to move forward will have to then complete a more rigorous series of exams.
A written test, fitness test, oral test, and background check encompass the what applicants who move a step closer to employment with the MPD will have to pass.
Mayor Barrett is also encouraging younger men and women who are interested in a career in law enforcement and fire fighting to apply for police aide and fire cadet positions.
He calls those jobs the “gateway” to the police and fire departments.
“It gives you a real running start,” said Barrett.
The mayor would also like the police aide and fire cadet programs to have a number of diverse employees.
At present, there is a running list of eligible candidates who applied as early as 2010.
That file of past applicants is set to expire soon, which will leave room for new hopefuls to submit their applications.
Anyone that has been convicted of a felony will not be considered for a position with either the police or fire department.
The Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission will accept applications until Friday, Oct. 7.
Those interested in a police officer, aide, or fire cadet position have the option of completing an application online or by calling (414)286-3751