Visibility, diversity both vital to recruitment for police and fire departments

At today's event, Biloxi Police officer Joshua Ryeff was recognized as the outstanding fourth quarter officer.
Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 6:59 PM CST
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - So you want to be a cop or a first responder? Well, local police and fire departments are always looking for a few good men and women to recruit and retain for their departments.

That was the topic of conversation at Friday’s Morning Call event at Boomtown Casino in Biloxi.

“We want our firefighters to be seen because we feel like with more exposure, the more my job gets easier with recruitment,” said Jason Davis, Assistant Fire Chief for the Biloxi Fire Department.

For Biloxi Police Chief John Miller and Davis, recruitment and retention go hand in hand with visibility and diversity.

“The best recruitment we can ask for is when a firefighter is out in the community,” Davis added.

These leaders say that visibility will be evident during large events like Mardi Gras. Miller says Biloxi doesn’t have the same officer shortage crisis like we’ve seen in New Orleans, but they are short on staff.

“There’s not a job fair out there that we’re not at. We’re doing everything humanly possible to try and attract people,” Miller said. “We are pretty regularly bringing in folks for different events from somewhere else in the state. They’re state certified policemen, but we vet them and make sure they’ll do what we would need a Biloxi policeman to do.”

Both leaders say they’ll be creative with bringing in new recruits, but they won’t compromise their standards.

“We’ve seen agencies in the United States lower their standards just to get boots filled, and we’re not going to do that,” Miller added.

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