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Thu, June 20

Kingman Police Department hiring; standards are high

Miner<BR>
Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries and Deputy Chief Rusty Cooper are looking for a few good men and women to fill out the ranks.

Miner<BR> Kingman Police Chief Robert DeVries and Deputy Chief Rusty Cooper are looking for a few good men and women to fill out the ranks.

KINGMAN - The Kingman Police Department has eight officer vacancies. Half of those have been filled and the recruits are set to graduate from the Western Arizona Training Academy in Lake Havasu City in early June.

An effort to recruit four more is under way - either from a pool of new recruits or officers from other agencies looking to make a lateral move.

The department established a hiring registry for men and women interested in a career with the KPD and the application can be accessed on the city's website at www.cityofkingman.gov.

The starting pay for recruits - what they will earn while at the academy - is slightly more than $19 an hour. Experienced officers with police officer standards training certification start at about a dollar an hour more and other benefits.

For instance, once a recruit finishes at the academy, he or she undergoes 16 weeks of field training. An already certified officer would receive about half that time in training, said Deputy Police Chief Rusty Cooper and, obviously, would not have to attend the academy a second time.

"We can get them on the streets that much faster," said Cooper.

The department has lost seven experienced officers in recent months and one more left last week. The attrition is due to dissatisfaction over salaries, which are lower than at other agencies in the region due to a long-time wage and salary freeze.

Chief Robert DeVries at a City Council budget workshop earlier this year advised Mayor Janet Watson and Council members that his top priority for the upcoming fiscal year is compensation.

City Manager John Dougherty also cited compensation for all city employees as one of his top priorities.

City employees across the board have not received pay increases in more than seven years.

Cooper said the morale killer for police officers is the complete absence of step increases given over the past several years.

The hiring process also consists of steps, said Cooper.

Candidates must complete a written test and a physical assessment involving running and an agility course.

Those who get past the initial step move on to an assessment center and oral interview. If members of the board find the candidate acceptable, background checks are conducted and character assessments are made.

If candidates meet the minimum standards, the KPD will make a contingent offer of employment, said Cooper.

If they accept the offer, they must undergo psychiatric, medical and polygraph examinations.

Those final three cost the department a "substantial" amount of money, said Cooper, making those who make hiring decisions acutely focused on all aspects of a candidate.

He said while the department would certainly welcome experienced officers - 80 percent of the patrol division has less than five years on the job - recruits would be given an even shot to land a spot.

"We have rejected POST-certified candidates based on their background," said Cooper.

Time is an issue. The deadline to apply is 5 p.m. April 7.

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