Milwaukee seeks 195 new cops, raises pay for 911 operators

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – If you’re thinking about becoming a police officer, Milwaukee is looking for you. The city is looking for 195 new agents this year and is also actively seeking to fill a severe shortage of 911 operators.

Milwaukee’s top cop says joining the police isn’t a job or a career, it’s a “calling.”

“If this type of work speaks to you, this is the type of work you feel you can engage with the people of the city of Milwaukee, we need you,” Police Chief Jeffrey Norman said during the a press conference on Wednesday 1 March. 2.

The city is looking to have three new police classes in April, July and November of this year. The goal is to have 65 new officers in each class for a total of 195 new officers.

The city is hosting a career fair on Saturday, March 5 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Milwaukee Police and Fire Academy at 6680 N. Teutonia Avenue.

“I want our police department to reflect the diversity of our city,” Acting Mayor Cavalier Johnson said.

Johnson wants officers from all over Milwaukee. But in a year where several officers have already been shot on the job, city leaders acknowledge that personal safety could be a challenge in recruiting new recruits.

“Talking about danger – it’s nothing new. In fact, it’s part of understanding why we put on this uniform, why we put on the badge,” Norman said.

Norman said he thinks the Milwaukee police are competitive on pay and benefits with suburbs that are also looking for officers.

The city is also looking to hire 911 operators. Johnson signed legislation Wednesday to raise pay to $55,000 a year.

“Every call to 911 – it starts with this phone call. Having people who are there who are supported, who aren’t overworked to take the call, so…this pay raise is definitely going to be a great benefit to our staff,” said Dr. Jeffrey Madison, chief information officer for the Milwaukee Fire Department.

Madison said the Milwaukee Fire Department wanted a total of 24 dispatchers, and only had about half.

“(The shortage) is pretty bad, but we have great staff and they’re handling it,” Madison said.