This week, the New Britain Common Council will be asked to consider a change in the way entry-level police officers apply for the job. We think a ‘yes’ vote is in order.
Currently, the police department opens up the application process every 12 to 18 months, offering a six-week window to potential applicants. But by asking potential hires to wait for such a long time, is the city missing the opportunity to hire some of the best and the brightest, as Police Chief James Wardwell suggests.
In fact, it’s a rule that is costing the city time and talent, Wardwell told The Herald.
Case in point: the Bristol Police Department just hired John Clary, who graduated from Roger Williams University in Rhode Island this spring with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Surely someone with his credentials would have been snapped up elsewhere if he had been asked to wait a year before being hired.
As it is, it sounds like Bristol is lucky to have him.
“You made it through a very rigorous and competitive screening process,” Chief Brian Gould told him, “one that many do not.”
Finding those few good men and women would be easier if the New Britain Police department were able to make an offer to them at the moment they become available, rather than expecting them to wait for the next enrollment period.
We should recognize that policing is much more than walking a beat. These men and women are professionals. In addition to basic physical training and tremendous courage, they need an advanced understanding of the law and the ability to work with the public. That combination is rare.
Give the city the flexibility to act when these future heroes become available.