CLIVE, Iowa — As tensions continue to rise between police departments and the communities they serve, the Clive Police Department hopes the passion many protesters have to protect their community can turn into filling an opening within the department as a police officer.
“Law enforcement is changing a lot,” said Clive Police Chief Michael Venema. “We are in a period of change and we are looking for people that will help us be part of that change.”
Venema and the department recently rolled out a recruitment video on social media, realizing the importance of hiring the right officers for their community.
“There is strength in diversity and our profession is only going to get better the more diverse we are and the more representative we are of our community,” said Venema.
High-profile killings of Black men and women at the hands of police officers have led to loud cries for change. It’s a change that Venema sees his officers can impact by making positive connections that matter.
“They remember the last time they had personal contact with an officer, and we really believe we can have the kind of officers that make a positive contact with people and a positive influence,” said Venema.
Born and raised in Chicago and a Simpson College graduate, Clive Police Detective Maurio Coleman was an applicant wondering about his future and the change he could make.
“As far as law enforcement … it’s all about service and serving your community. It’s not just the citizens of Clive that I serve, it is the citizens of Iowa,” said Coleman.
Being the change you want to see can be impactful. In 1997, Coleman became Clive’s first African American police officer. The department now has four, which is 14% of its 28 certified police officers in a state that is over 90% white.
The department wants to recruit officers who truly care about the community they serve.
“We see people when they are having the worst day of their life, but we want to have a positive influence,” said Venema.
With protesting and policing, there’s often common ground of a passion for their community.
“Person of color, a woman, if this is something you want to do and something you want to do for 30-plus years, most definitely apply,” said Coleman.
In 2020, the department hired six new officers. The starting salary is around $58,000. The application deadline is June 1.