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Columbus Police Want More Millennials On The Force

Jesse Bethea Jesse Bethea Columbus Police Want More Millennials On The ForcePhoto via ColumbusPolice.org.
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Time calls them “lazy,” The Atlantic calls them “narcissistic,” but the Columbus Division of Police wants you to call them “officers.”

On June 14 and July 17, CPD will be holding career expos to recruit new officers from recently graduated classes of millennials; the generation roughly defined as having come of age with the new millennium. In millennials, CPD sees an opportunity to gain skilled officers while providing the kind of benefits that recent graduates are not finding elsewhere.

Millennials make up about 20 percent of current CPD officers. One of them is 28-year old Jen Alicea, who decided to become a police officer when she was a student at Ohio State University. According to Alicea, the pay, benefits and stability of CPD made joining the academy a “no-brainer.” She also recognizes that young officers like her approach the job with an eagerness to serve.

“You get out of the academy and you just want to take all the bad guys to jail,” said Alicea.

While younger officers bring their own perspective to the job, Alicea says they try to pick up knowledge from the older officers when they can.

“It was a different way of policing when they started.”

In addition to being considered a civic-minded generation, millennials are also sought after for their technological literacy. Sgt. Duane Nicholson, a CPD recruiting officer, says that the new generation tends to be more computer-friendly, having grown up with technology all their lives. Millennial officers often have an easier time than their older colleagues working with police cruiser computers and other modern crime-fighting technologies.

According to Nicholson, millennial officers can gain just as much from the police department as the department gains from them.

“What’s nice about us is we have a very good salary that we can offer,” said Nicholson. Officers receive a salary of $49,000 when they first come on the force, and can receive up to $75,000 after five years, “comparable to any corporation,” according to Nicholson.

Recruits are not required to have a college degree when they join the academy, only a high school education or GED. If officers want to get a college education, CPD offers 100 percent tuition reimbursement.

These benefits are attractive to millennials, who are seeking stability of employment but have a hard time finding it in the current economic climate. As the rest of the American workforce recovers from the Great Recession, millennial employment has been left behind. The salary, benefits and sense of community service that come with the job can look like a pretty good deal to young people who may never have considered policing as a career.

Officer Will James was a substitute teacher when he started talking to school resource officers about what it was like to be a cop. James, now 34, saw the job as an opportunity to make a difference in the community, a sentiment that he admits may sound “cliché.”

“I wanted to have a unique purpose in society,” said James. Like Alicea, James has also noticed that younger officers tend to come at the job with a strong motivation to serve the community and make a contribution.

“I think the biggest thing with being a younger officer is the eagerness to learn, the eagerness to get out there an experience all you can experience.”

Registration for the June 14 police expo begins at 9:15 a.m. and at 4:15 p.m. on July 17. Both events will be held at the Chief James G. Jackson Columbus Police Training Academy on North Hague Avenue.

To register for either upcoming event, CLICK HERE.

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