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  • lax requirements....

    Police departments around the country are relaxing age and fitness standards, forgiving minor criminal convictions and easing other requirements to relieve shortages in their ranks and find officers who are wiser, more worldly and cooler-headed in a crisis.

    In recent years, St. Petersburg and Tampa, Fla., dropped the need for a two-year college degree if the candidate has military or law enforcement experience. Oakland, Calif., is no longer disqualifying applicants for minor, long-ago drug convictions or gang involvement. And Boston this spring raised the upper age limit for recruits from 32 to 40.

    "Being well-rounded, having some life experience, makes for a better person and patrolman _ someone who is coming up on a conflict who is mature and measured, as opposed to some young kid right out of school," said Boston City Councilor Michael Flaherty, who proposed the age-limit increase.

    The relaxation of standards — a trend that emerged in Associated Press interviews and reviews of policies in 50 cities — has been prompted in large part by a dire need for police recruits.

    A federally funded study last spring by the Police Executive Research Forum, a Washington advocacy group for police chiefs and commissioners, found that 10 percent of the nation's police departments had severe shortages of officers.

    New York City is looking to hire 3,000 officers. The Los Angeles police want 1,000 more cops; Houston needs 600; Washington is short 330; Phoenix is down about 200; and the Boston force is about 100 officers below its 2000 level.

    Among the reasons: The strong economy is offering other job possibilities, aging cops are retiring, starting salaries are low, and the Iraq war is drawing off both would-be police recruits and police officers who are in the National Guard and Reserves.

    "There's a real demand for really good people, and there's a limited supply," said Chuck Wexler, director of the Police Executive Research Forum. "Cities are having to take a second look at their recruitment standards."

    Push-ups vs. life experience
    The change in standards also reflects a desire by some departments to focus less on push-ups per minute and more on life experience. Many say older recruits might be less hotheaded and less trigger-happy, and that could mean the difference between escalating or defusing a tense situation.

    There is a movement afoot to focus more on people who are creative problem-solvers," said Gilbert Moore, spokesman for the U.S. Justice Department.

    The Indiana State Police last year raised the maximum age for recruits from 35 to 40. Houston went from 36 to 44 last summer.

    "We had very few qualified candidates," Houston spokeswoman Johanna Abad said. "The larger pool allows for candidates that are coming out of a military career to go into a second career, which they are qualified for. It's made our pool of applicants a lot more attractive."

    The higher age limit in Boston was good news for Stephanie O'Sullivan, a former member of the U.S. women's hockey team who wanted to be an officer, but at 35 was too old. She is applying to the Boston department.

    O'Sullivan owns and operates a hockey school with her brother, former NHL player Chris O'Sullivan. She also has a master's degree in criminal justice and works as an investigator for the district attorney's office.

    "There's great qualified candidates out there, from the city, that are committed, that have already exhibited a good work ethic, they're mature, responsible. Those are the assets I think you need on the job today," O'Sullivan said.


    While many departments have no upper age limits, usually out of fear of age-discrimination lawsuits, some are seeing the advantages of older recruits, provided they can meet the physical requirements.

    In North Carolina, the Wilmington police recently hired Lawrence Egerton, who turns 57 in December. He has been a social worker, and most recently owned an auto mechanic business. He passed all the physical tests and graduated from the academy as the oldest in a class of 13.

    Older officers bring "overall maturity and life experience," Egerton said. He added: "I tend to get a lot of cooperation just because of my age. Whether I'm arresting someone or getting people to divulge information, I think people assume that I've been out there for a long time."

    Egerton admitted, however, that 10 1/2-hour shifts can be exhausting. "When I'm done, I have dinner, read the paper and go to bed," he said.

    The Police Executive Research Forum study also noted a drop from 36 percent to 20 percent in recent years of departments that require candidates to have a clean criminal record.
    Many departments also subject their recruits to lie-detector tests in which they are asked about their drug use. But cities such as Fort Myers, Fla., are overlooking occasional use of drugs such as Ecstasy and powdered cocaine as long as it was more than five years in the past. Most departments still disallow anyone with a felony conviction. (MOST???!!!)
    "It's different now for the kids. There's a lot of drugs out there," said Fort Myers Maj. Glenn Johnson. "I'd hate to rule them out because of that."

    In Alaska, Juneau Police Lt. Kris Sell said that because of rising obesity among Americans, recruits included, the department recently relaxed its fitness requirements. "It was washing out all the candidates and it washed out all the female applicants," she said.

    Applicants must be able to sprint 300 meters in 77 seconds, up from 56 seconds. And they must be able to do at least 15 sit-ups per minute, down from 30.

    Two years ago, Los Angeles changed the rules to allow male recruits to carry 24 percent body fat, up from 22 percent; and women 32 percent, up from 30 percent.

    On May 25, the city personnel department's medical administrator resigned after six nurses who screen recruits signed a letter of protest, claiming the more lenient body fat standards did not take into account the risk of more trainee injuries and lawsuits. In response, the old rules were reinstated.

    "We had people with waists over 50 inches. We're not talking about bodybuilders," said Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine, a former police officer. "The attitude was, `Well, they'll get in shape at the academy.'"

    Zine also criticized the department for easing its zero-tolerance policy toward drug use _ experimental use of cocaine and marijuana will no longer eliminate candidates _ and for dropping a portion of the written test for candidates.

    "They're trying to manipulate the system for bodies, for personnel, for increased numbers," he said.

    Sgt. Alora Perna, who evaluates and hires recruits for LAPD, said that in the past year or so the department has not eliminated candidates just because of long-ago run-ins with the law.

    "We're not looking for perfect people, because we know people are human and make mistakes," Perna said. "We look at what those people have done since those mistakes."

    The Philadelphia department is making no changes in its recruitment standards.

    Jose Melendez, chief inspector of the training bureau, said police shift work is more suitable for younger people and younger recruits are "more eager to learn." The 367 current recruits are mostly in their mid-20s.

    "These younger officers, they don't have families, wives or young kids at home. They don't have problems working weekends and holidays," Melendez said.


    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19116778/
    ‘Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go.’
    Oscar Wilde

  • #2
    Take a look at the change in procedures from the era that I grew up in, the 1960's and today.

    When I was a kid and a ... well more than a few of us got into scrapes during those teen years in an eastern city, the local PD had a lot of latitude aka "officer disgression" in how to deal with us.

    You may have been roughed up a bit and tossed into the car and given a ride home to get your *** whipped by good ol' dad. But, you didn't end up with a record and all of the baggage.

    But, then there were no tapes of the calls and dash videos and lawyers watching every move. If you were smart, you got the message. Half of our old gang went into some form of law enforcement.

    Today, every move is watched and documented and the width of "latitude" is now a narrow band.

    Comment


    • #3
      Well, IMO, the age thing and fitness standards could be relaxed, because (personally), I don't know how the ability to do 60 situps and 40 pushups in a minute automatically makes you physically fit for police work. But yea as for gang involvement wtf?

      Comment


      • #4
        gang involvement is the big one see officers with tear drop tatoos its like wtf.

        Military has this problem see videos of military events and parties they are all gang bangers flashing f=signs its ridiculous we are so PC now we make special allowances for gangs.

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        • #5
          The gang thing I have a problem with, but I think departments turn away GOOD people over small stuff where a bad decision was made in the past.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by enviroguy View Post
            Take a look at the change in procedures from the era that I grew up in, the 1960's and today.

            When I was a kid and a ... well more than a few of us got into scrapes during those teen years in an eastern city, the local PD had a lot of latitude aka "officer disgression" in how to deal with us.

            You may have been roughed up a bit and tossed into the car and given a ride home to get your *** whipped by good ol' dad. But, you didn't end up with a record and all of the baggage.

            But, then there were no tapes of the calls and dash videos and lawyers watching every move. If you were smart, you got the message. Half of our old gang went into some form of law enforcement.

            Today, every move is watched and documented and the width of "latitude" is now a narrow band.
            I work with a cop now who when I was a younger man bounced me off a few walls and chased me from more than one corner.
            The job changing the way it has, he would have locked me up back then and I would not be the man I am today.
            Last edited by LBomb; 08-19-2007, 02:18 AM.
            "The streets of Philadelphia are safe...it's the people that make them unsafe"---Frank Rizzo
            http://hometown.aol.com/ppd9886/PhillyCopSpot.html

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            • #7
              I don't think anyone that has EVER been in a gang should be hired as a police officer, no matter how long ago it was.

              Comment


              • #8
                Jose Melendez, chief inspector of the training bureau, said police shift work is more suitable for younger people and younger recruits are "more eager to learn." The 367 current recruits are mostly in their mid-20s.

                "These younger officers, they don't have families, wives or young kids at home. They don't have problems working weekends and holidays," Melendez said.
                Anyone who makes a totally bias statement like this has no business being in a position of authority. Even if you think it, for crying out loud, don't say it.

                Does anyones else have a problem with the statement " we prefer to hire younger people because they don't have families"?

                This is the exact type of statement that gets corporations sued for age discrimination. Sure, age discrimination generally doesn't apply to police departments but that's related to the physical requirements of the job which is perfectly legal. The reasons this fellow gave are the very things that age discrimination laws were designed to prevent.


                "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Also, I have a problem with relaxing the physical standards. Yeah, Americans are becoming more obese as a whole but are the criminals slowing down?

                  Let's face it. If you can't do 30 push ups or sit ups in a minute, you don't deserve the job. Isn't there plenty of time between the initial application and the PT test? Anyone who wanted the job bad enough would simply train a little bit each day until he could meet these standards.

                  Likewise, a female would train to meet the corresponding female standards.


                  "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The physical requirements were easy 19 years ago. If you couldn't pass, you were borderline crippled, or a real tub of lard. I can't imagine what kind of slug you have to be to not pass what counts for a physical agility test today.

                    I can see accepting someone who used marijuana a few times in high school, but not any harder drug, at any time, ever. Gang membership or affiliation should also be an automatic disqualifier.
                    Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                    I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ateamer View Post
                      The physical requirements were easy 19 years ago. If you couldn't pass, you were borderline crippled, or a real tub of lard. I can't imagine what kind of slug you have to be to not pass what counts for a physical agility test today.

                      I can see accepting someone who used marijuana a few times in high school, but not any harder drug, at any time, ever. Gang membership or affiliation should also be an automatic disqualifier.
                      Agreed. Except that I think some steroid use should be acceptable. I know so many cops who juiced during high school when they were young and stupid.


                      "Jerry, just remember, it’s not a lie if you believe it". George Constanza.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        My inability to do 40 sit-ups (which are ironically enough, very bad for your back and posture) has nothing to do with my ability to chase someone down the street. Just ask my 16 year old smart-arse cousin.

                        I honestly, don't care about marijuana use...but I grew up (family) around the other stuff, and I typically don't care for people who use/used them. There are exceptions of course, and that doesn't mean I don't know quite a few officers who have done harder drugs, in fact it's made a few of them far better at the job than anyone else. I just wouldn't pick them over someone with out that history.
                        Considerably.....

                        83.9 on the Jeff Co. test! Woohoo!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Sad is when you go to a seminar on recruiting and officer standards and the topic of discussion of what felonies can be permitted in an applicants background. Not "if" but which ones and how many.

                          Former gang members are being welcomed in some departments (by the recruiters I guess-not the line officers I'm sure) and a cop with a felony record is just a travesty.

                          If it's a felony under the law at the time they got nabbed, they should never be allowed to be a police officer.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Crooked cops and law suits. And you know what? People will stand and protest how could this be?! How can a cop be so corrupt? Well, here is your answer. Your local government (the ones who make all of your decisions) felt that it would be alright to let G. Thug become a cop in order to fill the empty ranks. I can't wait to run into that "officer" with a tear drop by his eye. I have something for him. what a waste. But there is noone to blame other than ourselves for allowing this to happen.

                            For those who talk about making exceptions for people who used drugs earlier in life...DONT MAKE EXCUSES! Marijuana then or now, it doesnt matter. The whole idea of drug use is to determine what type of person you have a tendency to be. With all the anti-drug campaigns running around in this country and for a candidate to still claim to have used, that says enough for me.

                            How do you expect to have the public's trust when the people you hire as officers were or are the same thugs who you want to be protected from?
                            "Its not cheating, unless you get caught."-Al Bundy

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by amblnc38 View Post
                              My inability to do 40 sit-ups (which are ironically enough, very bad for your back and posture) has nothing to do with my ability to chase someone down the street.
                              Forty situps is nothing - as easy as walking across the street. I have been doing situps, with up to 125 pounds held across my chin, for 26 years, and my back and posture are just fine. The claim that situps are bad is just another myth perpetuated mostly by people who have no concept of strength and haven't actually tried them over the long term.
                              Government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem. - Ronald Reagan

                              I don't think It'll happen in the US because we don't trust our government. We are a country of skeptics, raised by skeptics, founded by skeptics. - Amaroq

                              Comment

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