The thin blue line will be a little thicker in the area but area law enforcement agencies are still seeking good people to join their forces.
The Alexander City Police Department is completing a phase of hiring, the Dadeville Police Department is looking for a few good people to hire for patrol and the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department is looking for applicants for corrections officers to replace officers moving on to higher-paying jobs.
“Every department has lost officers to the state during their recent hiring blitz in the last several months,” Alexander City police chief Jay Turner said. “We had officers with seven and eight years of experience going to the state making more money for entry-level positions.”
Turner said currently his department has six openings and just finished a round of applications.
“We have it narrowed down to 12 applicants for the six openings,” Turner said. “We will be looking through them and making a decision based on how they scored.”
Turner said the applicants will go to the police academy and be on the streets in a few months.
It is the second round of hiring at the Alexander City Police Department in the last several months.
“We have had real good luck recently,” Turner said. “We have been able to add diversity to the ranks and to bring in a couple of experienced officers from other departments where officers were looking to come back home.”
Dadeville police chief David Barbour said his department is seeking applicants for open positions despite having two new officers almost ready for the street.
“We have 14 in the department,” Barbour said. “We have two who will graduate (from the police academy) this month and it still puts us down one to two officers.”
Like other police departments, Barbour said Dadeville is having difficultly finding qualified applicants.
“They are hard to find,” Barbour said. “It is hard to find people who can pass the tests.”
Barbour and Turner said before they consider sending an applicant to the police academy, they must pass physical and written tests.
“To pass the police academy they have to pass physical tests,” Turner said. “If they can’t pass them with us, they can’t pass them at the academy. The same goes for the written tests. They have to be able show they can learn.”
Applicants have to pass background evaluations as well.
“We check their criminal history,” Turner said. “If they have a felony conviction, we can’t hire them. That is not just city policy but state. With a felony, they cannot be (Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training) certified. This includes something like domestic violence harassment. If they are convicted of that they can’t carry a weapon.”
Turner said his department also checks an applicant’s references, does a home study where an applicant’s family and friends are questioned then applicants are interviewed by the command staff.
“More than 50% of applicants are knocked out during the physical testing and background checks,” Turner said.
Turner said he is working with city leaders to work on officer retention including higher pay.
Barbour said interested applicants for the Dadeville Police Department can find an employment application on the department’s website at www.dadevillepd.org.
Tallapoosa County Sheriff Jimmy Abbett said his department doesn’t have any openings for deputies at the moment but said the Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Department is seeking applicants for corrections officers.