MPD, MFD recruit police officers and fire cadets, looking for diversity

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- If you feel a call to serve and protect, you might want to get your resume ready! The Milwaukee Police Department and Milwaukee Fire Department are hiring, and city officials are urging a diverse group of candidates to apply.

In recent years, the Milwaukee Fire Department has been trying to recruit a more diverse group of fire cadets -- and it's an effort officials say will continue.

"I, personally, was not going to be a firefighter when I came up. I was going to be an accountant," Joshua Parish said.

Parish is the director of the Milwaukee Fire Department's cadet program. His current classes are the most diverse in department history.

"Diversity means a lot of different things. It's not just ethnicity.  It's age, it's geographic location, it's personal experience, family experience, special language skills, cultural skills," Parish said.

City officials are working to attract more minorities to the Milwaukee Fire Department and the Milwaukee Police Department, and starting Wednesday, members of Milwaukee's Common Council will host information information sessions on those interested in careers with MFD or MPD.

Four members of Milwaukee's Common Council have planned October "information sessions" regarding careers with the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee Fire Department.

These city leaders say it's an effort to inform residents of job opportunities and increase diversity within Milwaukee's protective services.

"In the past, there's been problems with diversity," Milwaukee Alderman Ashanti Hamilton said.

Alderman Hamilton says emergency responders need to understand the communities they serve.

"When your departments are more reflective of the communities that they serve, it's just an easier way of dealing with some of those issues before they even occur," Alderman Hamilton said.

When you look at the city of Milwaukee's overall population, about 53 percent of people are a minority. That can be compared with percentages within the Milwaukee Police Department and the Milwaukee Fire Department.

Within MPD, about 35 percent of sworn police officers are minorities. Within MFD, that percentage drops to 20 percent.

"We're really, really working on becoming more and more representative," Parish said.

The heads of both MPD and MFD say they support the recruitment of minority candidates. These are competitive jobs that involve testing, physical examinations and psychological exams.

The city of Milwaukee is currently recruiting candidates for jobs as police officers, police aides and fire cadets.

Police officers must be at least 21 years old and possess a high school diploma or qualifying GED and a valid driver’s license.

Fire cadets and police aides must be between the ages of 17 and 19, and may eventually qualify for appointment to a firefighter or police officer recruit class.

Information on the information sessions to begin Wednesday, October 1st is as follows:

Alderman Ashanti Hamilton's information session

Wednesday, October 1st - 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Villard Library - 5190 N. 35th STreet

Alderman Russell Stamper II's information session

Friday, October 3rd - 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

MAIWB - 2338 N. 27th Street

Alderwoman Milele Cogg's information session

Wednesday, October 8th - 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Milwaukee Urban League - 435 W. North Avenue

Alderman Willie Wade's information session

Monday, October 13th - 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

DPW Headquarters - 3850 N. 35th Street