Guthrie Police Test Record Number Of Recruits
GUTHRIE, Oklahoma - Guthrie police are whittling down a record number of recruits this year, and say they have seen an increase in both female and minority applicants.
There are many physical and mental requirements to become a police officer, but now more people than ever are ready to wear the Guthrie badge.
“We’ve gotten one of the biggest recruiting classes since just after 9/11,” noted Sgt. Anthony Gibbs.
Not everyone is cut out for the job, especially since Guthrie has one of the most rigorous obstacle courses in the metro area, fittingly named "Hell's Corner.” This time around, though, a record 70 applicants are going out for just four spots on the force.
Gibbs says part of the reason is despite unrest in other parts of the country, the Guthrie community has been extremely supportive.
“We have a lot of positive sentiment, a lot of thanks,” he said, “and I think a lot of our applicant pool are picking up on that. It’s a good time to become an officer again.”
Guthrie police have also made a concerted effort this year to attract potential officers through social media, releasing a recruiting video complete with tips for testing successfully. Gibbs says his department is appealing because it's medium-sized with a variety of opportunities, but admits that many officers decide to transfer to larger agencies.
“We do see a fair amount of turnover,” he said, “and generally people are sometimes looking at the pay, thinking that maybe it's greener on the other side, and unfortunately I hear so many times, 'I wish I hadn't left.'"
Gibbs says he is especially encouraged by the diversity of the applicants.
“Not everybody is angry at the police,” he said. “Not everybody thinks the same way.”
Having completed the physical and written tests, the recruiting pool has already been cut by more than half. Now they move on to interviews, polygraphs and background checks before the field tests begin.
While they hope this trend continues, Guthrie police encourage the public to follow their social media pages to find out about the next round of recruiting.
In contrast, Oklahoma City police say they have seen an opposite trend with a decrease in applicants. Their academy is currently testing 59 recruits, with no distinct differences in diversity.