Signs encourage people to join Phoenix Police as department faces officer shortage

In Phoenix, large signs are popping up around town as the city's police department continues its efforts to recruit police officers.

One of those recruitment signs can be seen outside the Phoenix Police headquarters.

"We want officers. We need officers," said Sgt. Mercedes Fortune with the Phoenix Police Department. "Our community wants to make sure that we have the officers in place to provide them help."

Phoenix Police short about 200 officers

The department has been on a mission to get to full staffing since 2015. In a perfect world. the Phoenix Police Department would have 3,100 officers on its force. Currently, the department has about 2,900 officers.

"I think those numbers are so important when we talk about responding to emergencies and having the right people in those situations, at that moment, needing help from people," said Sgt. Fortune.

There are various reasons why officers leave the force, she says, including retirement, career change, or just moving out of state.

"We want people to understand that this is a lifelong career," said Sgt. Fortune. "This is 20 to 25 years of what you're going to give back to the community."

Department looking for recruits from all walks of life

For new recruits, the process starts with a written test, which can also be done online for those not close to Phoenix.

Phoenix Police Detective Luis Samudio says to become a police officer, a recruit must have a mindset for your community and a desire to make a difference. 

"Diversity is important, so we can understand how culture functions and knowing where everyone comes in and out to our communities," said Det. Samudio.

Phoenix Police recruitment