Chestertown PD seek­ing to send two can­di­dates to po­lice academy

Kent County News - - NEWS - By BROOKE SCHULTZ [email protected]­pub.com

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.

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