A thousand miles by car separate Milwaukee and Dallas, yet the Dallas Police Department sent recruiters to the fall career fair at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in October.
Why? UWM’s diversity comes to mind, but there’s more to it.
“We’re looking for diversity in background, gender, and stuff,” said Ray Milbern, recruiter for Dallas Police. “But mostly we’re looking for a diversity of thought.”
Diverse population, high unemployment in minority groups in Milwaukee, and the fact that Milwaukee police aren’t hiring new officers (because it’d mean a raise in property taxes and a loss of some state funding) this year has attracted departments from around the country to recruit here. From the Dallas PD table, one could see Dane County Sheriff’s Department, Minneapolis Police, and Madison Police Department recruiters.
The Dallas department is trying to get 300-plus recruits immediately, according to Milbern.
You might remember that Dallas is where five cops were shot and killed in an ambush in July this year. When asked about the violence against cops and whether that was impacting recruiting, the recruiters said that they didn’t think so and showed me the list of names and emails of interested parties they had collected at the job fair.
At the Minneapolis PD table, Dave Burbank, a recruiter, was making his pitch to Kirk (he didn’t want to share his last name), a communications major.
“There are three paths to becoming a part of the force: recruit, cadet, or community service officer,” said Burbank.
The positions all have different perks and responsibilities, but the Police Department is ready to pay for some relocation and any required training, such as police academy and some work-school programs with the police department.
“It’s definitely a possibility,” said Kirk, while he wrote his email address on the contact list.
The Dallas recruiters have been to Tennessee, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, and other states, but high female enrollment and a multitude of minority students makes Milwaukee a rich and rewarding stop for recruiters.
Why don’t they recruit in Dallas? They do, said Milbern. He emphasized the diversity of thought again and said they don’t want people who may have bad opinions formed about certain people or parts of the city. This is similar to an employer seeking inexperienced workers that are much easier to train compared to workers who have more experience but also come with many bad habits.
While many complain about a lack of jobs, career fairs continue to clamor on the brink of bursting, full of eager employers and opportunities. Though the Dallas recruiters came from a thousand miles away, many local employers were present at the fall career fair.