PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The Providence Police Department is looking for its next class of recruits as the city seeks to bolster its numbers and improve public safety.
The department’s annual recruitment drive kicked off Wednesday, just days after swearing in the Providence Police Academy’s 70th graduating class.
“We need people of character that are brave, that are courageous,” Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré said.
The department’s latest recruitment efforts follow a year of unprecedented violence in the capital city. Paré believes having more officers patrolling the streets will help deter criminal activity.
“People like to see uniformed police officers in their neighborhood and that presence has an effect,” Paré said.
The recruitment drive also comes as the department works to mitigate a staffing shortage caused primarily by retirements and pandemic-related recruitment delays.
Providence Police Chief Hugh Clements said the department typically receives around 2,500 applicants, which they narrow down to 50 recruits by graduation day.
“Training each session is tweaked and it’s transformed as to what’s going on in the moment,” Clements said. “There are very few careers where you have an opportunity to make an impact. This is one of them.”
Clements said the 71st graduating class will bring the department’s numbers back to comfortable levels, providing them with additional resources and allowing them to conduct specialized policing efforts.
“We were critically short and it played to some of the work we weren’t, kind of, able to do in the community,” he continued. “With our true community-oriented policing platform, we like foot posts and we like the ability to put bike patrols out there and added patrols for directed resources.”
Mayor Jorge Elorza said an overall increase in officers within the city will have a huge impact.
“Either walking the beat or driving around, that police presence goes a long way to making folks feel safe,” Elorza said.
Anyone interested in applying has until Feb. 4, 2022 and must submit a completed form online.