More than 250 applications were submitted at a recruitment drive on Wednesday by those seeking to join the emergency and prison services.
The drive at the Town Hall in George Town was a joint initiative of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, the Cayman Islands Fire Service and Her Majesty’s Cayman Islands Prison Service in a bid to recruit Caymanian officers.
Those who attended had the opportunity to network with officers and HR managers to explore career options.
The drive attracted men and women of all ages and young Caymanians, in particular. Two of the youngest who applied for the fire service were students Jhannaye Bodden, 18, and Fernando Soler, 19.
“I felt there was a need to serve my country, as they needed more recruits,” Mr. Soler said.
Ms. Bodden, who also applied to join the prison and police services, said she finds the fire service to be more of an interesting career move.
With not very many female firefighters serving in the force, Ms. Bodden told the Compass that she hopes to “actually make it into the Fire Department.”
Also keen on joining the fire service was 23-year-old Michael Travis McLaughlin, who hopes to learn a lot from joining.
According to sub-officer Rodney Rivers of the Cayman Islands Fire Service, “I think it was important that something like this was organized. It’s been an excellent turnout this afternoon.”
Mr. Rivers was one of several fire officers at the drive who introduced a slate of gadgets used by the department.
According to Clara Smith, human resources and freedom of information manager for the fire service, more than 150 applications had been received by the department two hours into the three-hour event. She said the service hopes to recruit 15 people.
While women are typically outnumbered by men in law enforcement, the RCIPS booth did not lack for women wanting to join the force.
Kimberly Salgado, who tried to join the RCIPS last year, hoped to be successful in applying on her second attempt.
“Plenty of officers have encouraged me to come out,” she said, “so here I am, trying a second time.”
Police Constable Patricia Sevik said, “There is honestly a lack of females in any form of service, whether it be prison, fire or police, so I am encouraging females to come out and show that we can be just as good as men on the job.”
As a friend of Ms. Salgado, PC Sevik accompanied her for support.
The RCIPS recruitment effort runs through Sept. 5, so the total number of applicants is not yet known. However, police Inspector Kevin Ashworth said, “We’ve been taken aback, really, by how many people have actually arrived [at the recruitment event]. We’ve been absolutely amazed.”
The prison service’s HR manager, Raquel Solomon, agreed: “The turnout has been phenomenal, with a solid 200 applications.”