“Answer the Call” police and fire recruitment event to be held Monday

Former Fire Chief Greg Martin to lead fire recruitment

To continue promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the City of Erie, the City’s Strengthening Police and Community Partnerships Council and the Erie branch of the NAACP will host an “Answer the Call” community forum on Monday.

This event will provide information to interested residents about the upcoming opening of the application process for the Erie Police and Fire departments. The event is free and open to the public.

In an effort to increase diversity in our police and fire department, in 2020 the City of Erie set goals to increase to 15% the number of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) and female police and fire candidates who take the test. Through the ongoing efforts of Erie Police Lt. Tom Lenox, Michael Outlaw, the City’s Community Liaison; the Strengthening Police Community Partnerships Council, and community partners like the NAACP, the City has exceeded that 15% goal every year. Since July of 2021, we have hired 27 new police officers. Ten of the new officers hired – 37% – were minorities or women.

At the Erie Fire Department, the City increased the number of minority candidates taking the Erie firefighter written exam and the physical agility test by 126.7% between 2017 and 2019, from 15 minorities to 34 minorities. We also saw progress in the percentage of minorities taking the test each year, which increased from 6.6% in 2017 to 9.8% in 2019.

To continue this effort, former Erie Fire Chief Greg Martin, one of the first Black firefighters in the City of Erie and the department’s first Black fire chief, will lead this year’s recruitment effort along with current firefighter Lt. Seenah Mischel, the City’s first African American, female officer.

Monday’s “Answer the Call” community forum will continue these police and fire recruitment efforts.

“I’m proud of the work we’ve done to increase the recruitment and hiring of minorities and women to our police and fire ranks,” said Erie Mayor Joe Schember on Thursday. “We are making progress in ensuring that our officers and firefighters more closely resemble the community we serve.”

The details:

Date: Feb. 20, 2023
Time: 5:30 – 7 p.m.
Place: Urban Erie Community Development Corp., 2046 E. 19th St., Erie
For more info: Michael Outlaw, 814-870-1236 or moutlaw@erie.pa.us.

Shown at a news conference announcing the Answer the Call police and fire recruitment event are, from left: Michael Outlaw, community liaison for the City of Erie; Lt. Tom Lenox, Erie Police Department; Chief Joe Walko, Erie Fire Chief; Joe Schember, Erie Mayor; Greg Martin, former Erie Fire Chief; Lt. Seenah Mischel, Erie Fire Department; Gary Horton, president of the Erie Chapter of the NAACP and director of the Urban Erie Community Development Corp. They are shown at Erie City Hall on Feb. 16, 2023. The “Answer the Call” fire and police recruitment event will be held at the UECDC, 2046 E. 19th St. in Erie at 5:30 p.m. on Feb. 20.
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