The Tulsa Police Department needs recruits but is having a difficult time getting them.
Last year, fewer than 100 people applied and the department is on track to be at the same level this year.
Major Ryan Perkins said his goal is to have a minimum of 400 people apply next year but said it's going to take money and strategy changes.
He said the Tulsa Police Department is the one you want to work for.
Ryan Perkins 1 "It’s a great place to have and raise a family; and in an environment where the public really supports police department a lot more than many other agencies."
But, Perkins said they are having a hard time getting that message out there.
In the past two years, fewer than 100 people have applied to the academy each year. Perkins said the city is aware of the problem and could soon look at a sustainable tax package to fund public safety.
"We wanted to prepare them if, all of a sudden, they said ‘We want you to hire 200 police officers over next five years.’ I would need 1,000 applicants to fill those positions," he said.
And to do that, they hope to focus on Internet and social media recruiting, including an overhaul of the academy website.
Perkins said, "To be able to reach out all over the country without having to actually go all over the country. To get people interested we wouldn't be able to see otherwise."
A perfect scenario, Perkins said, would be to have a minimum of 400 people apply next year.
"We need to have enough applicants where we are not picking every qualified applicant, but picking the best of our qualified applicants,” he said.
Perkins said another issue is, of course, pay. The Tulsa Police Department is number seven out of nine in the state of Oklahoma - only above Midwest City and Lawton.
Also, with all the officer-involved incidents recently, there is a fear factor out there. But, they hope to convince people interested that many jobs come with risks, but by putting on that uniform they are going to make a difference in their community.