The first activity involved in selecting officers entails evaluating whether the interested applicants have met the minimum requirements of eligibility. These requirements include ascertaining that the applicant has a U.S citizenship. The applicant must also possess a driving license, and must have an experience of at least one year in an activity that involves interaction with the public. Another requirement is that the applicant should have attained a valid diploma. He/she should be free from any serious records linking him with crime after attaining the age of 18 years. Moreover, the applicant must have attained a minimum age of 21 years before graduation (Grant, 2008). If all these minimum requirements are met, the applicant must then proceed to fill in an application form or complete a written examination. Agility or physical ability tests and visual strength tests may then be done on the applicant. Criminal history checks, health, oral and psychological tests are also done on the applicant. As can be seen above, the officer selection process is an in depth and difficult process. In this regard, the law enforcement department has a human resource department which consists of a system that strives to recruit officers, who it will retain and promote in future. Applicants selected must also possess the ability to be good time managers.
They should also be able to handle stress effectively. Having good social skills is considered as a point plus. Furthermore, applicants who are critical thinkers and have good problem solving skills are likely to be selected since these skills are essential in handling the public, crime or incident witnesses and the victims.
Officer training and career development programs
Officer training programs have gradually been changing as evidenced by a continuously increasing police training duration. The main aim influencing the change has been to ensure that officers not only posses professional training but are also equipped with relevant skills that will enable them to handle domestic violence, racial and ethical related issues. As such, training hours have increased from 300 hours to the current 1400 hours.
The changes witnessed in police academies are diverting focus from solely technical aspects e.g. arresting, use of firearms and booking suspects, to placing more emphasis on equipping officers with adequate knowledge on legal issues and the ability to monitor behavioral aspects (Katz, 2008). Police training entails completing hours of specific training. This involves training in development of firearm handling and investigative skills. Moreover, Self defense skills are learnt during this period. Adequate knowledge on criminal, domestic violence and constitutional law is also learnt. Trainees then proceeds to acquiring knowledge on how to deal with cultural diversity, cultivating their personal and working ethics, and improving on their integrity. Afterwards, they undergo a period of community policing to get a practical experience of what they have learnt in the classroom. All this is referred to as pre service training.
A recruit who has met all the pre training requirements is placed on probation for a period ranging six months to two years. In most cases, probation lasts for about a year. An officer on probation can however be terminated without any cause. It is also important to note that Standards required for promotion are strict since competition is usually very high. Promotion however differs from one jurisdiction to another. Finally, written examinations that are accompanied by oral interviews are administered to allow for the assessment on whether candidates have the appropriate qualities for the job. The interview session is conducted by a relevant board consisting of several members (Grant, 2008).