The Fire and Police Commission is poised to approve the first new eligible list for the position of firefighter in more than 10 years.
“I would like to commend the FPC and the Milwaukee Fire Department for their significant recruitment efforts that led to an eligible list that better reflects the demographics of our city,” said Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II, chair of the Community and Economic Development Committee.
“It’s no secret that the demographic makeup of Milwaukee’s protective service employees does not adequately reflect the makeup of our city, but through outreach and community involvement the MFD (and the MPD) has made a significant step forward in ensuring that the rewarding careers in our Fire Department are attractive and welcoming to everyone.
The current firefighter eligible list contains 1,537 people, of which 44% identified as Black, 39% as White, 11% as Hispanic, 2% as Asian and 1% as American Indian. This list is far more racially representative of our city than the current MFD sworn force (79% White, 12% Black, 7% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 1% American Indian). Not only is the current eligible list more racially representative, but it is also 20% female (compared to only 3% of the current sworn force).
“Numbers like this are a whole new ballgame for our city – this shows what is possible when recruitment efforts use creativity and genuine, meaningful outreach to attract and educate potential candidates,” Alderman Stamper said.
“Getting a job with our fire department can be a life-changing event not only for an individual but their entire family. It’s a career that earns a stable, solid income and provides a secure retirement, and it’s a career that makes a positive impact on our community while developing individuals into leaders and mentors,” he said.
“That this opportunity is being pursued by more people of color in our community can only lead to positive ripple effects across our city,” Alderman Stamper said.
Alderman Stamper noted that the firefighter recruitment is only one example of the commendable public outreach that the FPC has engaged in recently. From the partnerships developed to address the findings of the draft Department of Justice Collaborative Reform Assessment Report to the transparent and community-minded process the FPC undertook to select the new police chief, there has never been more opportunity for the public to be engaged with the important work of the Commission, he said.
“I encourage the FPC to keep up the energy they’ve put toward their recruitment efforts and continue to create opportunities for the residents of our city to engage in a meaningful way with the important work of our public safety departments,” Alderman Stamper said.