New OPD recruits talk challenges with community

Some new recruits for the Orlando Police Department met with community members as they begin their careers serving the residents, businesses and visitors to the city of Orlando.

Chief Orlando Rolon discussed some challenges facing recruitment.

"You hear it all over the United States that many agencies are struggling with trying to attract the most qualified individuals into this profession," Rolon said. "But also struggling with trying to have the diversity we need that then reflects the community that we serve."

Recruiting and hiring new officers is a constant process at the Orlando Police Department.

"We average about 4,000 applications or more each year," Rolon said. "About half of those individuals are given an opportunity to continue along with the process, and then we select 100-125 individuals from that pool. That is being very selective."

In the room were ten recently sworn in members of the force.

"I wanted to pursue my childhood dream of being a police officer, so I went to the academy," Dwayne Davis said. 

Nowaiz Rasool served six years with the NYPD before making the move to Florida.

"The big thing I was looking for was a large enough city that is diverse," Rasool said.

But before they hit the streets, the recruits are sitting down with community members to learn about the issues and the residents they will serve.

"We get to pour in different things, Raymond Budha, a Lynx transportation supervisor said. "They get to see it from a different light. Not just responding to an incident on a bus we’re able to let them know what we can offer our police department."

"I think it’s important that we know who we’re working for and who is working for them," Nicholas Rodriguez said.

The Orlando Police Department currently consists of 878 sworn members and 300 professional staff members. The Governor is hoping to pass new legislation offering incentives to out-of-state recruits to become law enforcement officers in the state of Florida.

"I think it’s great, and I think it’s going to open up a lot of opportunities for many law enforcement agencies in the state of Florida to draw the best of the best to our state," Chief Rolon said.

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