Despite high-profile cases nationally, WPD recruiting numbers on rise

Published: Apr. 15, 2021 at 7:52 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - From the Derek Chauvin trial to charges against another Minnesota police officer in a deadly police shooting, some high-profile cases national involving police put added scrutiny on departments across the country. Despite that, the situation with the Wichita Police Department is encouraging for the department, at least from a numbers standpoint.

With the WPD, recruiting numbers continue to rise, especially in two important areas. The number of women and minorities hired to the department has substantially increased since 2018. In all, the WPD reports 229 applicants, just this year.

“Our barometer gets off a little bit with these national events. The reality is, police all across the country go out to serve honorably and treat people with dignity and respect,” WPD Chief Gordon Ramsay said. “But there are times where bad things do happen. But, in this city alone, we have millions of contacts a year with people and they go very well without any problems. And we seek to hire the best and brightest and we look for character. And I believe that our police officers are good people.”

WPD Sgt. Jeremy Vogel, in charge of recruiting for the department, discussed the mindset of new recruits heading into the law-enforcement profession. He said what’s going on nationally hasn’t caused the spirits of local recruits to damper.

“Knowing that all of the new recruits that have come on, whether it’s their current academy class or academy class (from) say, a year ago in the beginning of 2020, they’ve all been enthusiastic that they’ve gotten an opportunity to be hired on with our department and eventually make it to that sixth month academy class, graduate, hit the streets and do what they truly want to do, which is to protect and serve,” Vogel said.

Ramsay said “a critical point on policing right now,” deals with the public’s view of police officers.

“...We all want the best and brightest to come to our home, our family’s homes if we ever need them. And if we vilify the profession, we’re not going to get the best and the brightest,” Ramsay said. “Policing is a noble profession and we need it in this country. And we need the best people to enter. So, we still need to encourage candidates and the best and brightest to join policing.”

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