Chestertown PD seeking to send two candidates to police academy
CHESTERTOWN — In order to fill vacancies, the Chestertown Police Department plans to send two individuals to the police academy.
The mayor and council approved the decision Monday, opting to go the “grassroots” way after failing to fill the positions through advertising and online job listings.
Among other business items that evening, a planned discussion of vendor regulations for the Chestertown farmers market was postponed and not discussed Monday.
While the process of hiring certified police officers turned up two promising applicants, both decided to take positions closer to their homes, Chief Adrian Baker told the council.
“I don’t hate these guys for making that decision but unfortunately for us, we’re now two positions open and there’s just nothing in the well to draw from,” he said.
Baker said that they’ve sent candidates through the policy academy in the past and he believes it’s the better option.
“We, most often, get a local candidate; they’re invested in the community and it just works out well. That historically has been good,” he said.
The police academy, which is offered at Wor-Wic Community College, begins Jan. 4 and runs for six months. To send candidates requires the department to “jump through a lot of hoops to hire a candidate,” Baker said, which means they would have to start the process soon.
Sending an individual — or two — through the police academy means the candidates are not certified police officers, just those who have a good background.
“We got a lot of those candidates as a byproduct of our first advertising, so we already have that; that’s one step ahead,” Baker said.
He said they have to select the candidates and perform a polygraph, a psychological, a physical and a background check within the month of December.
The cost of the program raised concerns for Baker and council members. Sending two candidates through the academy costs a total of about $40,000. Baker said he could cut the cost to about $25,000 by asking an allied agency to house the candidates, rather than putting them up in a hotel.
Baker said about a third of the officers hired have been sent through the police academy by the department, and the last five officers he has hired were already certified.
In the past, Baker said they budgeted for the possibility of sending someone through the academy, but have “cut things tight here,” recently.
While the department plans to pursue this option, Baker said that he’ll keep looking for a certified officer until the candidates are committed for about two more weeks.
Mayor Chris Cerino raised the concern that the officers may leave the department after they go through the academy.
Baker said they typically have the officers commit to three years, or face paying off the fees from the academy.