SLC Public Safety departments looking for more diversity

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Salt Lake City continues to grow and city officials want its public safety departments to be a reflection of that. To do so, the city is holding a job fair with the goal of hiring people from diverse backgrounds.

The Salt Lake City Fire Department is one of the public safety departments looking for new people.

“Salt Lake City Fire Department just wants to make sure that we are progressive and accessible to everyone,” explained Darby Egbert, Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator for the city’s fire department.

Since the inception of the Salt Lake City Fire Department’s Community Relation Division in 2016, they’ve averaged an increase from 0.13 percent to 6.13 percent measured across several ethnic groups, including Hispanic, Black, Asian, Pacific Islander/Native Hawaiian, etc. The fire department hires every two years on even calendar years.

Of the 1,111 who applied to take the fire department test in 2018, 9.6 percent were female and 2.7 percent were female and ethnically diverse,19.9 percent of males were ethnically diverse, and Hispanic/Latino males made up 9.6 percent, which is almost half of the overall count for ethnically diverse males.

The data pulled is survey-based and optional.

Egbert says when it comes to diversity, the fire department isn’t just looking to hire people of different ethnicities and genders.

“We’re looking to expand that concept. If you’re from a rural community, for example, you’re going to be bringing some very different knowledge. If you speak a different language or multiple different languages I think that’s valuable. If you come from a different socioeconomic background — all of these things help us to better serve the community, ultimately,” she explained.

“For whatever reason, within us, we want a piece of familiarity. So, if I am there and suddenly in walks a crew and there’s a female firefighter on that crew, it’s going to make me feel that much more comfortable,” she added.

The Public Safety Job Fair is Saturday, March 23 from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. at Horizonte School.

Salt Lake City is looking to hire dispatchers, police officers, firefighters, social service workers, police services coordinators, substance abuse counselors and more.

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