Leader Blues

Friday, March 28, 2008

TOP STORY > > Applicants aplenty for police jobs

By RICK KRON
Leader staff writer

The Sherwood Police Department is enjoying a nice problem—too many applicants.

The city budgeted six new police positions for this year and the department had two officers of their 66-person force retire, providing eight openings.

Close to 100 people have applied to fill those positions, including 14 who are already certified police officers.

Lieutenant Cheryl Williams, a spokesman for the department, said the certified officers include applicants from the police departments of Jacksonville, Cabot and Pine Bluff, as well as deputies from Jefferson and Pulaski County sheriffs’ offices.

“We also have certified officers applying from Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas and Alaska,” Williams said.

Hiring a certified officer does cost the city more, but gets the officer out on the streets quicker.

Williams said that a certified officer from within the state would have to go through a 12-week training period.

Sherwood training officers must learn the city’s streets, ordinances, policies and procedures before being able to patrol on their own.

For the police officers outside the state, the city would have to compare that state’s training curriculum to Arkansas’ curriculum. “If they are comparable, then the officer will only need to take a 40-hour course at the state police academy in Camden, and then our local 12-weeks of training. If the state curriculums are not compatible, then the officers must take the12-week academy course and then our 12-week local training,” Williams explained.

Those applicants with no police training or experience will need to take both the state’s 12-week course and the city’s 12 weeks of training.

All applicants will be ranked based on a written test. Those who pass the test will be considered for the eight openings.

“Last year, we had 50 applicants, but only 30 passed the written exam,” Williams said.

Sherwood pays a police officer with no experience about $30,000 a year, while those with experience can make up to $34,000 to start.