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Public safety jobs needed throughout St. Joseph County

WSBT 22

If you've ever pictured yourself in uniform, now is your chance. Several public safety agencies are holding a job fair Thursday afternoon in South Bend.

Four different police and fire departments will be there.

Normally departments compete with one another when it comes to applicants. But this job fair brings all of them under one roof.

While each department is looking for more recruits all together, they want to make sure the applicant reflects the community.

"We are out here to save and protect lives. It doesn't matter if there's a gun that goes with the badge or a gun that doesn't go with the badge. We are still public servants and that's what we are looking for that dedication to this calling,” said South Bend Police Chief, Scott Ruszkowski,

That's the point behind a multi-agency job fair.

"What we chose to do, was to open this up, kind of as a one stop shop to be able to break down any kind of barriers to recruitment for any potential applicants in the community,” said Fire Chief Steve Cox.

South Bend fire has four openings. Police have 15.

Both departments say they've gotten hundreds of applicants this year but not all of them are qualified. The goal of the job fair is to make the pool of recruits bigger and to pick the best person for the job.

"We do have a focus on increasing the number of minority, female and veteran applicants specific to our department,” said Cox.

Police also want a more diverse department. Right now, about 86-percent of the officers are white. For the fire department, 93-percent are white.

"The biggest challenge for us, is people who have never pictured themselves in a uniform and aren't even aware that the City of South Bend is looking for someone like them that's where the outreach becomes so important,” said Mayor Pete Buttigieg.

Buttigieg says having a force that reflects the community will increase trust.

“If you care about safety, if you care about justice in this community we want you,” he said.

The job fair is Thursday at the South Bend Fire Department's training center on Sample Street. It's from 4-7 p.m.

Not only will South Bend police and fire be there but departments from Mishawaka, Clay, Notre Dame and even Michigan City.

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