08 July 2012

How to Hire Cops.....

From the Cop side: As some of my readers (both of you) may have heard, in the past years I had my part in trying to hire new cops.  It never helped that I worked at a police department that had the absolute lowest starting pay in the county.  The good thing was for those of us on the very top steps, the pay was on par…..but where it took the other officers working near us only 5 years to get to that kind of pay, it took us 16 years. 
But this isn’t about the pay,,, I’m retired now and I get a decent retirement check each month…this post is about hiring cops.  When I had first applied to police departments when I got out of the Army, the process—from the time you’d put in an application to the time they’d put you into a uniform would take between 6 months to a year!  In those days, for a good sized department with 6 openings, they might have 600 people show up for a written test.  They spent most of the time weeding out those who should never be cops---missing body parts, missing the IQ, missing the manners, missing the honesty and missing all kinds of things. 

But in the last years, we might have had 3 openings, and be lucky to get 6 people to even apply for the job.  I figured it was due to not only the low pay and high requirements, but that hour Human Resources office was less than useless. I mean they only have to work twice- when somebody was hired and when somebody was fired….in between they just went to meetings and seemed to never be doing anything. 
In it's day...it was a great car!

So to get decent cops, I’d go out and try to recruit.  I’d talk to other cops and asked if they new anybody who’d want to work for us.  Then I had my own way to screen them.  A few years ago most government agencies changed to doing everything online.  You go to a website and fill out the application etc. 

So, when I was in my Sergeant’s office and I’d get a call transferred in regards to somebody looking for a job, I’d talk to them.  I’d ask them if they had this and that requirement, if they could pass a background check (that I’d do in many cases.) and thing like that.  If they sounded good, then I’d ask: “Can you use a computer?  Good, can you use Google?  Good.  Now go find our website, find the HR part, and find the application and fill it out.  If you can’t do that, then you’ll never be able to investigate even a simple crime and we can’t use you.” 

That either got a laugh (good) or a pissed off hang up (good, we don’t want you.) 

Then when they filled out the forms, then they got looked over, I got them from the HR office.  I was always amazed at what HR thought was a good candidate from just looking at the forms and what I thought was a good one. 

Then the interview.  I always tried so hard to not laugh. …but when a person who’s never been in any kind of uniform, and never under anykind of life or death stress comes in and tells me how good they did in the police academy…”I was the top in my class in pistol shooting…”  I’d ask: “so how many times have you been in a gun fight or had to draw down on a suspect?” 

The police academy is just a start.  It’s how a cop works with people in the real world that matters.  Give me a cop who just got a “B” in the academy, but can talk to folks and get them to talk to him or her.  Give me a cop who’s not afraid, but still has common sense to ask for help and can help other cops.  Give me a cop who cares about everybody else- before him/her self. 

…and then there was the ones who said in the interview: “I plan on being a detective in 6 months….” 

I’d think: “really, who are you going to take out to get that job?”     
Too few times did we get a military vet applying.  They were usually the best cops...but since we paid so poorly, we didn't get them very often.  Now most vets know how to put up with crap, take orders and more important- Take Charge! 

(Bonus Points for this police exam.  What is wrong with the above patrol car?  Something is missing...not the blotted out star) 

02 July 2012

Iraq War Vet hat.....

From the Vet side:  A few days ago my best friend sent me an "Iraq War Veteran'
cap. I never had one of these before, and I was pretty hyped about it,
especially because my friend was considerate enough to take the time to
give it to me.

Yesterday, I wore it when I went to Walmart. There was nothing in particular
that I needed at the world's largest retailer; but, since I retired, trips
to Wally World to look at the Walmartians is always good for some comic
relief. Besides, I always feel pretty normal after seeing some of the people
that frequent the establishment. But, I digress...enough of my psychological

While standing in line to check out, the guy in front of me, probably in his
early thirties, asked, "Are you an Iraq War Vet?"

"No," I replied.

"Then why are you wearing that cap?"

"Because I couldn't find the one from the War of 1812." I thought it was a
snappy retort.

"The War of 1812, huh?" the Walmartian queried, "When was that?"

God forgive me, but I couldn't pass up such an opportunity.

"1936," I answered as straight-faced as possible.

He pondered my response for a moment and responded, "Why do they call it the
War of 1812 if it was in 1936?"

"It was a Black Op. No one is supposed to know about it."

This was beginning to be way fun!

"Dude! Really?" he exclaimed. "How did you get to do something that COOOOL?"

I glanced furtively around me for effect, leaned toward the guy and in a low
voice said, "I'm not sure. I was the only Caucasian on the mission."

"Dude," he was really getting excited about what he was hearing, "that is
seriously awesome! But, didn't you kind of stand out?"

"Not really. The other guys were wearing white camouflage."

The moron nodded knowingly.

"Listen man," I said in a very serious tone, "You can't tell anyone about
this. It's still 'top secret' and I shouldn't have said anything."

"Oh yeah?" he gave me the 'don't threaten me look.'

"Like, what's gonna happen if I do?"

With a really hard look I said, "You have a family don't you? We wouldn't
want anything to happen to them, would we?"

The guy gulped, left his basket where it was and fled through the door. By
this time the lady behind me was about to have a heart attack she was
laughing so hard. I just grinned at her.

After checking out and going to the parking lot I saw Dimwit leaning in a
car window talking to a young woman. Upon catching sight of me he started
pointing excitedly in my direction. Giving him another 'deadly' serious
look, I made the 'I see you' gesture. He turned kind of pale, jumped in the
car and sped out of the parking lot.

What a great time!

Tomorrow I'm going back with a Homeland Security cap.

Whoever said retirement is boring just needs the right kind of cap!