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)