Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Do You Have What It Takes?

Back in October of 2011, the City Manager’s Office approved filling police officer positions, which had been held open due to budgetary concerns. The vacant positions were a result of retirements or other forms of attrition occurring over the last few years.

To give you an idea of the outstanding job the employees in our Personnel Unit do to screen the numerous applicants, we’ve broken down some numbers which illustrates how difficult it is to be selected as one of the final candidates.

Since October, the department received 415 applications for the position of police officer. Of those 415, only 216 went on to take the written test. Of the applicants who took the test, only 90 earned a qualifying score (76% success rate) to be considered for the polygraph exam. After the completion of the polygraph, the number was again reduced to 36 applicants who then went on to a background investigation. This investigation eliminated 16 people, while the remaining 20 applicants were given panel interviews. When the interviews were completed, 19 moved on to receive a physical exam, drug screen and a psychological evaluation, of which four were dismissed. The remaining 15 were then sent a final offer letter for employment.

Besides being in good physical and mental shape, a potential recruit must have a clean record. Having patience is also a good strength to possess as the process can sometimes take up to a year before the conditional offer is extended.

A lot of people would ask why someone would put themselves through all this for a potentially dangerous occupation with long hours and a median pay range. That answer will be different for a lot of people, but the majority of the respondents will tell you that they want to serve their community.

As the result of the extensive process mentioned above, the Overland Park Police Department currently has 11 new officers enrolled in the Johnson County Regional Police Academy. The remaining 4 newly hired officers have previous law enforcement experience and were assigned directly to the Patrol Division. These officers are just beginning what will, hopefully, be a long and distinguished career at the Overland Park Police Department. While they may just be starting their careers, the journey of becoming a police officer has been going on for a while now.

As we’ve illustrated, it takes a lot of time and patience on everyone involved. Pursuing your dream of becoming a police officer can be a lengthy process, but well worth it at the end.

If you think you have what it takes, visit the Overland Park Police website for more information.