Chattanooga police are pushing for more minority applicants
Chattanooga police continue to push for more minority officers on the force.
Thursday morning, the department held an event to increase diversity.
This is the second minority recruitment event the police department has held.
The goal is to increase the number of applications in order to bring in more African Americans, Hispanics and women.
The Chattanooga Police Department wants to have a force that represents the community they serve.
For years across the nation, departments have been having an issue recruiting minorities, and Chattanooga is no different.
Recruiter Moreland Wilson joined 21 years ago to be that difference.
“It's been a great experience for me being a police officer,” Wilson said. “I was born and raised here in Chattanooga. So I felt like I wanted to get back.”
Wilson said he knows it will take time to get all the officers they need to represent the city.
He hopes by having these types of events, there will be more candidates with the potential of making it through the academy.
“Pre-screening, and an initial interview,” Wilson said. “After they complete that pre-screening, we will look over, review it. Then we will tell them the next steps in the process.”
Wilson said the city's African American demographic is about 35 to 40 percent, and the police department has less than half of that number.
He said having enough officers to reflect the community is important.
Neysa Rios agrees, and as a bilingual woman, she knows what she has to deal with patrolling the streets.
“Victims in the community, who are female, feel more comfortable talking to us than a male,” Rios said. "So that will help to make them feel more welcome."
The Chattanooga Police Department is now hiring for the academy starting this August.
Applications can be found online.