Police in Austin have credited use of social media and information sessions for women with helping attract more female applicants.
The Austin American-Statesman reports the police academy in November will begin training 110 men and women, The Austin American-Statesman reports. The newspaper reports it's the largest class in recent memory as the Austin Police Department seeks to deal with staffing shortfalls and to bolster diversity among the ranks.
Sgt. Marci Graham, who's been an Austin officer for 17 years, has helped at recent information sessions for women interested in law enforcement. Graham says many of the questions revolved around balancing family life with being a police officer.
Graham also said she thinks that women who are victims of sexual assault feel more comfortable dealing with female office.
"And if we can get to more than 10 percent women, I would be happy," Graham said.
A recent report from a California-based consulting group identified recruitment as the worst problem facing the department. It specifically cited how long it takes for an applicant to be fired, calling the 12- to 18-month period "unacceptably long."
The department has used a larger staff to speed up the recruitment process.
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Recruiters are also taking a different approach to marketing become an officer by focusing on the work that officers do on a daily basis, rather than images of high-speed car chases or other adrenaline-fueled activities.
Austin police project that they'll have nearly 1,300 applicants this year, which would be a 36 percent increase over last year and nearly twice as many applicants in 2014.
"Our applicants are quite honestly through the roof," said Cmdr. Andy Michael, supervisor of recruiting for Austin police.