After slow start, police recruiting office pays off

October 16, 1994|By Robert Guy Matthews | Robert Guy Matthews,Sun Staff Writer

The city's newest police recruiting tactic, opening a temporary satellite office in West Baltimore, seemed to be a big flop when it started last month. But after a long wait for applicants, recruiters landed dozens of potential officers, and they plan to bring the program to other parts of Baltimore.

The five-day recruiting drive had little advance publicity -- the police public relations department forgot to send out fliers and press releases, or to air public service announcements on radio stations. And even though recruiters boasted an eye-catching gimmick -- a Corvette painted like a police car -- no one applied at the 1052 W. Baltimore St. office for two days.

But after newspaper and television reports lamented the agency's inability to bolster its ranks from the inner city, about 125 applicants showed up in the remaining three days.

Sgt. Antonio Williams, who heads the agency's recruitment unit, welcomed them. A large percentage were members of minority groups, and most were from the neighborhood, he said.

The recruitment drive marked a new campaign to bring more minorities and women into the 3,000-member force, which includes 1,000 blacks and 390 women.

At the West Baltimore satellite office, Sergeant Williams had the applicants fill out an application for the $23,000-a-year jobs. Then they sat down for an 80-question, multiple-choice civil service test.

At least 63 out of the 80 or so who took the test passed, he said. They will move on to a preliminary interview and an agility test that probably will pare down the group further.

Now that recruitment efforts are looking brighter, Sergeant Williams said, the next undertaking will be in the Northeastern District in about three weeks. Eventually, the program plans to stop in each of four sections of the city about once a month.

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