Police & Firefighter Hiring Trend Continues Upswing

In 2015 the hiring momentum for police officers and firefighters continues to build across the U.S. and Canada. Can it be that the economic downturn of 2008 is now firmly in our rear view mirror?  The current stats are encouraging.

Weekly headlines validate what you may be seeing within your own department. Jobs

With an upcoming budget increase, the City of Minneapolis plans to hire new firefighters and plans one recruit class every year for the next five years!

“It’s a good move, towards holding the line on the numbers, getting them where they need to be. It’s great for everybody. It really is.” said Mark Lakosky, President of the Minneapolis Fire Fighters Local #82

Back in 2011 the city of Central Falls, Rhode Island  filed for federal bankruptcy, the first municipality in state history to declare itself insolvent. Today the city will send three new recruits to the Rhode Island Municipal Police Academy for 22 weeks of training. Three new hires is not necessarily a big number to some, but for a city that was bankrupt three years ago this is a significant advancement. Starting salary for probationary officers in Central Falls is $39,358. Once the probation period ends, salaries increase to $51,756.

The strong diversification recruitment trend continues along with the educational background of new recruits.  The Toronto Police College reports that its current recruit class has three recruits with a “Dr.” before their name. Seventy per cent of this crop of cops have post-secondary education — something that has become the rule, not the exception, says Supt. Peter Lennox, the Toronto Police College Unit Commander.

A sterling example of economic improvement is the City of Indianapolis. 115 new officers will be added over the course of the year in two classes. Adding the officers will cost about $7.2 million during the year. They follow with 80 officers that were added in classes that began training in 2014. The new recruits include 35% minorities. Public Safety Director Troy Riggs said the initial intention was to add 90 officers with the additional public safety income tax revenue approved by the City-County Council. But because of cost saving measures that number grew to 115.

We are as efficient and as effective as possible. We’ve been good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars,” Riggs said. “And we need additional funding for officers to get relief.”

FDNY probie recruits

Texas, Maryland and Florida, Best States For Hiring Vets

The Military Times reported the results for their nationwide survey and found that Texas, Maryland and Florida are the best states for hiring vets. They evaluated departments and agencies across the nation, with a survey of more than 90 questions that delved into their military and veteran recruiting efforts, veteran and reservist policies, and departmental culture.

The survey methodology used by the Military Times was well thought out and insightful. And all but a handful of respondents to the survey said they are hiring now. About half have some sort of veterans hiring preference, either through extra points automatically added to entry exams or other procedures. More than 92 percent have current or former service members, or military spouses, in senior leadership roles.

Jobs Forecast, the Big Picture

POLICE – From the Department of Labor – Employment of police and detectives is projected to grow 5 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Continued desire for public safety will result in a need for more officers. However, demand for employment is expected to vary depending on location, driven largely by local and state budgets. Even with crime rates falling in the last few years, there will be continued demand for police services to maintain and improve public safety. Applicants with a bachelor’s degree and law enforcement or military experience, especially investigative experience, as well as those who speak more than one language, should have the best job opportunities. The level of government spending determines the level of employment for police and detectives. The number of job opportunities, therefore, can vary from year to year and from place to place. Job prospects should be best for trained officers with related work experience.

Firefighter – From the Department of Labor – Employment of firefighters is projected to grow 7 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. The aging of the population will lead to an increased demand for emergency responders as the elderly tend to use more emergency medical services. Currently, about 2 out of 3 situations that firefighters respond to are medical—rather than fire—emergencies. In addition, jobs will be created as volunteer firefighters are converted to paid positions in areas where population growth creates the need for a full-time workforce. An increase in urban populations, where full-time firefighters are more common, is also expected to increase the demand for firefighters. Prospective firefighters will likely face strong competition for jobs. Many people are attracted to the job’s challenge, opportunity for public service, and relatively low formal education requirements. As a result, a department may receive hundreds of applicants for a single position. Physically-fit applicants with high test scores, some post-secondary firefighter education, and paramedic training should have the best job prospects.

Adams County Sherriff Recruit

Past Years Hiring Trends

Over the past three years I have written about the steady trend of hiring. Click on the links below to read them:

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