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Kansas City, Kansas, fire department seeks minority recruits

KCKFD fire engine.jpg
Posted at 11:22 AM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 12:22:07-05

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The Kansas City, Kansas department is making changes to improve its recruitment of minority and female candidates after the latest class of recruits did not meet its inclusion goals, Chief Michael Callahan said.

The department received a $2.3 million grant last year to add 18 firefighters. The initial pool of candidates included 48% minority or female candidates but when the candidates were selected after written, physical and background checks, only 32% were minorities and none were female, Callahan said Thursday in a news release.

In response, the department plans to eliminate past marijuana use as an automatic disqualifier. Callahan noted marijuana use is illegal in Kansas and not allowed within the department but past usage will not immediately eliminate potential candidates.

The department also plans to allow more preparation for the agility tests, which Callahan said disproportionately eliminated female candidates. He said interested recruits will be given more information about the physical requirements so they can better prepare for the tests.

A paid firefighter trainee program that had been stopped because of COVID-19 restrictions and funding issues also will be reinstated, Callahan said.