East Palo Alto Police embark on aggressive
By Henrietta J. Burroughs
Posted: March 24, 2008
It is very clear, given the recruitment fair the East Palo Alto Police Department held this past Saturday that the department is making serious efforts to fill the seven vacancies it has for police officers. The department held its recruitment fair in Joel Davis Park in East Palo Alto on the second day of spring. It was a day when flowers were in bloom, the trees were filled with blossoms and the police department’s hopes were high.
The department’s high hopes apparently met with positive results. East Palo Alto’s Police Chief Ron Davis said that he was impressed with the turnout. By the end of the fair, twelve people submitted applications to the department. Based on the number of applications given out at the fair, Davis said he expects to receive 10 to 15 more applications from those who attended. In addition to those who both submitted and took applications, 25 signed cards to go on an actual “ride along” with a police officer.
In explaining the importance of the fair, Davis said that it was a difficult time for police departments throughout the country, since the numbers applying for police positions are at an all time low. There are currently 15,000 vacancies in police departments throughout California and police recruiters are operating in a very competitive market to fill the vacancies. Given the current market, Davis said the East Palo Alto Police Department is engaged in an aggressive recruitment campaign to attract new officers.
Former East Palo Alto City Council member Myrtle Walker brought two of her grandsons to the fair: Dominic Allen who is 19 years old and Donray Stevens who is 30 years old. Allen, who lives in Valley Springs, California which is near Stockton, said that he is thinking of being a police officer because he likes helping people.
Donray Stevens had obviously given the subject plenty of thought. He was one of those who submitted his application for one of the department’s vacant positions during the fair. Stevens, who has always wanted to be a police officer, said he prefers to work in a small city where you can get to know everyone.
So, why would Walker encourage her grandchildren to apply to be police officers -- a potentially dangerous job. “I’ve seem so many changes in the East Palo Alto Police Department,” Walker said. “There is new equipment, new attitudes among many officers toward the community. The crime rate is down. So I thought I’d bring them down [to the fair],” she said.
“The East Palo Alto Police Department is becoming more community oriented and Chief Davis is more accessible to the community,” Walker said.
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