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Elyria police encouraging more women, minorities to join the force

There are 10 open positions
Posted at 12:08 AM, Feb 11, 2017

Elyria Police need to fill an officer shortage, and they’re encouraging more women and minorities to apply for positions.

Chief Duane Whitely said the department has ten openings. Right now there are 82 officers on the force, but just four of them are African-American and four of them are women.

“You’d like your department to match those demographics,” Chief Whitely said, referencing the surrounding community. “It gives people in the community a safer sense.”

Right now, the department is defending itself against a lawsuit from former officer Kristen Fortune. She’s alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Whitely wouldn’t comment on the suit Friday, citing the fact that it’s still in court.

Whitely said, while more women and minorities are encouraged to apply, the positions are open to any qualified applicants.

“There’s no better job in the world to have. You get to help people,” Chief Whitely said. "There’s no better feeling when you get to help somebody and sometimes helping them involves arresting them or giving them a ticket.”

News 5 rode along with Patrolman Brandon Pool Friday night, who did some ticketing of his own.

One driver, involved in a minor accident, wasn’t happy she was found at fault. Another woman called the police on her unruly grandchildren.

Patrolman Pool said it’s important for the members of the force to look like the people they serve.

“When people see...officers that look like them, whether it be African-American or Hispanic or what have you, I’m sure it kind of helps put them at ease,” he said, “Because when we show up it’s not usually when people are having a good day.”

The department wants people interested to apply by March 8 at www.jointheforcenow.com.