When hiring police officers, what or who do you look for in an applicant? Is the department ethnically and gender diverse?
Chief Douglas Stephens: So yeah. We have the same challenges as other law enforcement agencies and in trying to identify the best possible people, and we do our very best to recruit and hire and retain officers and civilian personnel that reflect our community. So we do everything we can to identify those folks. We have a very rigorous hiring process. We’re not unique for law enforcement. All law enforcement, probably at least in this part of the country, has a similar process, and it’s very timely and time-consuming. A process can go from application to an officer being on their own on the street, ready to handle cause without a training officer can take over a year on average, and there’s a number of steps involved in that, from initial testing to psychological testing, to polygraph, to drug screenings, to oral boards, physical tests, psychological screening, I think I can’t remember. But I’m losing my mind, so maybe I should take one of those again.
That’s before they even get into a 24, 26-week academy. After that, they’re put into 14 weeks of field training, where they have three different field instructors. After that, they do a year on probation with us before they’re ever able to be a fully certified and a ready-to-go-on-their-own officer, where we have total confidence in their ability to do things without closer supervision.