Philadelphia Police Department kicks off effort to recruit more officers

The starting salary is $61,888, plus a $2,000 signing bonus.

Tuesday, January 9, 2024
Philadelphia Police Department kicks off effort to recruit more officers
Philadelphia Police Department kicks off effort to recruit more officers

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Police Department is kicking off an effort this week to recruit more officers.

The department said it is currently short more than 800 officers.

"We're looking to get out there, get in the field with officers on foot and bikes," Captain John Walker said. "But, we can't do that if we don't have the people."

"The job just became really unattractive over the last couple of years with the unrest, the riots, things of that nature, defund the police," FOP President Roosevelt Poplar said. "We're trying to change that trend and move back in the right direction."

Applications for recruits are being accepted Monday through February 2.

The starting salary is $61,888, plus a $2,000 signing bonus.

"This campaign is laser-focused on engaging the residents of Philadelphia, particularly those living in underrepresented recruitment zip codes, such as: 19121, 19122, 19133, 19134, and 19140, as well as communities in the surrounding regional counties," the department said.

Philly police officials say, starting this month, the department will have a new academy class starting every six weeks, as compared to one or two times per year.

For more information on how to apply, visit

RELATED: Kevin Bethel sworn in as Philadelphia's police commissioner

The city is also waiving a requirement that new officers must live in the city for a year before joining the force to boost dwindling ranks.

A new state law is also impacting the recruitment process.

It permits Philadelphia to use an alternative reading comprehension test upon approval by the Municipal Police Officers' Education (MPO) and Training Commission, and it reduces the minimum physical fitness requirement for police academy recruits.

Recruits can be up to the 15th percentile for fitness goals to start, though they must still be in the 30th percentile to be employed as an officer.

"The graduation standard is the same as it always was," Captain Walker explained. "It's the entrance exam into the academy where we decided to use a step process to train people as they come in."

Corporal Jasmine Reilly, who joined the force 16 years ago, said she was inspired to serve because her father was a victim of a crime in 1980.

"They beat him, they shot him, and they dumped him in Maple Shade, New Jersey," she told Action News. "The reason he survived was because it was snowing and someone called 911 right away."

Years later, as the city gets a new mayor and police commissioner, Reilly said she believes new leadership could make a difference.

"I do think this is a hopeful time for the police department. We're ready for change. We're always ready to make changes."

The police department is currently undergoing change with a new leader at the helm. Kevin Bethel was sworn in as the city's new police commissioner last week.

The West Philadelphia native, who was a member of the department for 29 years, had also served as deputy police commissioner of patrol operations and the chief of school safety for the school district.

"We have a new mayor. We have a new police commissioner, and I'm very positive that their message has been sent across the City of Philadelphia that we're going to be focusing on some new things on the police department with the new recruits, the neighborhoods and the community. To bring that bond back between the police officers and the community. We have to," said Poplar.

Mayor Cherelle Parker declared a public safety emergency in the city on her first day on the job to combat gun violence that left 410 people dead last year.

The mayor's office told Action News that her plan is to see 300 police officers recruited and hired this year. She wants many of them to be trained and directed into community policing.