Like employers throughout the Keys, the Key West Police Department has difficulty hiring and retaining officers because of the daunting cost of living here, said Lt. Frank Sauer, head of the Bureau of Community Affairs.
And, he added, attracting qualified candidates who reflect the diversity of the community the police department serves as an additional challenge. The Key West Police Department has recently taken two steps toward addressing these problems, Sauer said.
The department’s recruiter, Officer Al Citelli, attended the Minority Chamber of Commerce of Greater Miami and South Florida’s Law Enforcement Job Fair, Sauer said. The other step was the Jan 31 filing of the 2004 report of the department’s annual Equal Employment Opportunity Plan (EEOP), which Sauer composed.
Citelli said the Minority Chamber of Commerce is trying to help law enforcement and professional recruiters hire minorities.
“We talked with about 300 people and handed out over 60 applications,” Citelli said. “About three-quarters of those were very interested in the department’s local academy sponsorship program for the October class.” Citelli said he also encouraged younger people who had no law enforcement experience to apply for entry level jobs of police community service aide, telecommunicator (dispatcher) and parking enforcement and then work their way up to police officer.
The EEOP report has been filed with the City of Key West’s Human Resources Department and the police department’s Special Services Division, Sauer said. “The Key West Police Department is committed to making its workforce profiles more closely reflect the available labor force in the community,” he said.
Sauer said the report details statistically the percentages of genders and six races employed by the department. Figures are reached by comparing the Key West Police Department’s workforce to the approximate numbers of persons of each race in Monroe County’s population who would be likely to be qualified to work for the police department, he explained.
Sauer said his analysis showed only very small percentages of “underutilization” of minorities: in sworn protective services, African American males by 3.8 percent, African American females by 1.2 percent and females by 2.0 percent; in administrative support, Hispanic males by 5.1 percent and Hispanic females by 1.2 percent.
“In the report, our stated goal is to avoid discrimination against any ethnic or gender class by regularly reviewing job requirements, hiring, promotion, transfer and termination criteria,” Sauer said. “We go through this instructive process every year.”