Better Police Recruits Through Boot Camp? Baltimore City Tests New Programs

Boot camp is just one of the ways Baltimore City is turning to innovative programs to help improve recruitment of police officers.

An article in The Baltimore Sun reports that Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh has partnered with “Bloomberg Philanthropies-funded ‘Innovation Team'” to boost recruitment for the city’s police force. One of the first issues the group has tackled is helping recruits train to pass the fitness test through boot camp classes that meet three times a week:

The fitness requirement is a “huge barrier” for many recruits, said Major Brian Hance, who heads the department’s recruitment section. In 2017, 20 percent of applicants failed the fitness test on their first try, including 55 percent of women, he said.

Rather than turn away candidates who can’t pass the fitness test, “we want to work with them,” Hance said. “There’s a lot of good people out here.”

The Sun article notes the boot camp has shown promising returns with half of the participants passing the fitness test — all of which were women. The team has also launched an online application which has generated a jump in the number of applications the department has received. These initiatives are part of broader efforts by the Mayor’s office to boost attraction and retention of police officers as the department has been beset by vacancies and overtime hours officers must work.

To learn more read:

Baltimore police fitness ‘boot camp’ among new efforts to boost recruitment (The Baltimore Sun)

Baltimore City Looking to Diversify Police Force (Conduit Street)