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Help wanted: Raleigh recruiting those who want to help

Posted September 17
Updated September 18

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— Now hiring! The City of Raleigh employed a new approach to recruiting Saturday for police officers, firefighters and 911 operators. It hosted a job fair at North Carolina State University.

On a day when the nation had a new reminder of the dangers and heroism inherent in public safety careers, applicants showed no hesitation.

"I'd to make a change. If not, then I love helping people. Helping people is one of the things I love to do," said Charles Pickett.

Dodging bullets and coming under fire in the court of public opinion would be worthwhile in order to make that difference, he said.

Pickett was one of hundreds to talked to Raleigh police officers Saturday about the realities of the job.

Quan Jones, warned about the risks of police work by his mother and fiancee, hung out with the firefighters instead, but his reasoning sounded the same.

"I like helping," Jones said. "I like to help people. You get the opportunity to help people."

Although police and firefighters in Raleigh have been lobbying for higher pay, both recruiters and prospects said that didn't factor in at the job fair.

City officials say they have no shortage of applicants. Nearly 1,100 people have applied for police jobs since March. Over five days, they received nearly 200 applicants for the upcoming firefighters academy.

At 56, Robert Spear is changing careers. Despite the dangers, he'd like to wear the blue.

"If you follow your training and don't let your emotions and your personal judgment get in the way of that training, I think you can do well," he said.

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  • Steve Faulkner Sep 18, 8:29 p.m.
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    Why have a job fair if you are getting more applicants than you handle?