Atascadero Police Department seeks new recruit
Application and testing deadlines are Nov. 28 and 30, 2016
—The Atascadero Police Department is urgently seeking applicants and will train a new officer to join their 28-person force. Commander Joe Allen, second in charge behind Chief Jerel Haley, is a 25-year veteran of police work and has been with the Atascadero PD since 1995. He says it hasn’t been easy lately to recruit experienced law enforcement officers, because often the public takes a negative view of the police.
“We’re not held in the high regard that we were at one time,” Allen says. “Nationally we’ve been second-guessed for all the events that are happening around the country. It’s cyclical. Right now we’re in a down cycle.”
As a result, Atascadero PD is going to the expense of recruiting people without any law enforcement experience. The chosen rookie will be sent for 20 weeks of training at Allan Hancock College in Lompoc, the academy that trains all fresh recruits throughout San Luis Obispo County. The expense to the city includes approximately $3,700 for academy training, plus the cost of uniforms, gear and ammunition that total an estimated $5,000. The new recruit will earn $4,046 per month while in training, and as much as $6,655.72 after graduation, depending on his or her education and ability to speak a second language.
Commander Allen says the basic requirements include being 21 years of age (there is no maximum age, according to federal employment guidelines); having a valid California driver’s license and a high school diploma or GED; and no felony convictions.
He says, “We would love more female applicants.” Currently there are just three full-time women officers on the force.
Allen expects to receive some 40 to 50 applications by the Nov. 28, 2016, 5 p.m. filing deadline. Then there are physical, mental and psychological tests to pass, as well as a background check.
The selection process includes an early morning physical on Nov. 30, 2016, which tests for agility and speed by scaling walls and fences, making it through an obstacle course and completing a 500-yard run*. From this smaller pool, potential recruits will sit for a written test. “Ninety percent of a police officer’s job is writing reports,” Allen insists, “so they need to demonstrate writing skill.”
A four-officer panel will then interview the remaining applicants, and the top two or three will go before Chief Jerel Haley for review.
Assuming the chosen recruit makes it through the academy, his or her character will be more valued than the ability to handle a firearm per se. “We are looking for someone who exudes professionalism,” Commander Allen says. “We want you to have high character, show professionalism and be able to partner with the community.”
Academy training begins in the third week of January 2017. The application can be downloaded here.
* This story was corrected on 11/22/16; the 500-yard run was previously noted as 2,500.