GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Police Department is recruiting new police officers, and they're breaking down barriers to attract more talent from the city.
"I came out here to see what the GRPD requirements were for the physical fitness test," says Elliott Zarins, who participated in the recruiting event. "Wanted to see if I would be able to pass them."
Zarins says he came out to the recruiting event at Gerald R. Ford Middle School because he's always been interested in law enforcement.
"This is definitely great for getting your feet in the water, trying it out," he says, "testing to see if you are going to make the requirements in the fitness."
Zarins and the other potential recruits underwent the "physical agility test" needed to get into a police academy.
"I didn’t really know what to expect at first," says Zarins, "but coming in with a decent amount of fitness in my background, doing the push-ups, sit-ups and running, it wasn’t too bad."
Recruits hope this session could boost their chance for a job.
"This session lets you get your foot in the door and stuff, and people know that you want to go into it because you are here putting in the work," says Jordan Krzykwa. "And putting in the time to get here."
This physical test is often the first step taken to begin a career in law enforcement, but it's not the only important factor.
"We have always looked for those things, not just the ability to run fast or do a lot of push-ups but to be able to communicate with people," says Sgt. Dan Adams. "To be able to identify with the community that you are serving, to be able to problem solve, we are still looking for all those amazing attributes, and there is a lot of talent in Grand Rapids that has that, and we are dedicated to finding it.
For many, this is the first connection they make at the police department that could lead to bigger opportunities.
"I thought it was a great time, and I know what the requirements are and how I am doing," Jordan tells FOX 17.
GRPD has different avenues to hire new recruits: to sponsor them to go to the academy with a promise of a job thereafter, hire academy graduates or hire those searching to work for a new law enforcement agency.