Executive Assistant Chief Robert Alldredge outlined several efforts to recruit new police officers to Fort Worth City Council. These efforts would help fill the 211 positions that the department currently has open.

The context

During his Nov. 7 presentation, Alldredge noted several factors that affect the current number of vacancies. They include:
  • 63 positions approved by council in the fiscal year 2023-24 budget
  • 29 probationary officers not included in the vacancy numbers because they are still in training
  • More than 80 employees currently on restricted duty or occupational leave due to injuries
Beyond those factors, Alldredge noted that how and when vacancies occur is a “constantly changing target for us.” Variables that make it difficult for department officials to predict vacancies include:
  • Retirements
  • Resignations
  • Disciplinary terminations
  • Medical separations
  • Promotions
While police officials look at vacancies throughout the department to determine where new recruits can be of best use once they graduate from training, Alldredge said that it remains challenging to staff positions due to the ever-changing nature of police business.

“For us, the priorities we have in certain departments and the vacancies we have in certain units change from month to month, and sometimes from week to week,” Alldredge said. “So it’s challenging for us to stand up here and tell you I’m going to fill this unit on this date and I’m going to fill this other unit on another date.”

Alldredge said that the 211 vacancies translates to a 11.25% vacancy rate. He then compared Fort Worth’s rate to other major cities in the U.S., as shown in the following graph:
The details

The department is taking several different steps to improve recruiting. Alldredge said that the department is creating a designated recruiting unit, which should increase eligible applicants by 50%.

Another step is to make the police academy curriculum more efficient, which Alldredge said will allow recruits to graduate in 34 weeks versus the current 40-week training period.

Alldredge said that department officials also changed the physical fitness requirements. Previously, recruits had to go through an obstacle course in 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Now, recruits must pass a physical resiliency assessment that includes the following:
  • Complete 11 or more push-ups in 1 minute
  • Complete a 500-meter row in 2 minutes, 27 seconds or less
  • Complete 22 or more sit-ups in 1 minute
  • Complete a 1.5-mile run in 17 minutes, 51 seconds or less
Quote of note

“Getting past the application process is one thing, but we want them to be realistic about the physical rigors of the academy,” Alldredge said.