To incentivize and promote the application of qualified persons to the police field and specifically the York City Police Department.
Over the last two decades the rate of application for the position of police officer has steadily decreased. In 1999, nearly 800 applications were received for positions within the York City Police Department. In 2018, less than 200 applications were received for positions within 12 police departments in York County.
The plan has three parts, which represent long term, medium term, and short-term goal attainment. This allows for the plan to progress through the department beyond just the immediate need. Each part requires the assistance of the community.
Short Term Plan
This part of the overall plan involves those that are currently of age to apply for the position of police officer. There are several approaches to this part of the plan to include civil service reform, a community challenge, scholarship to police academy prior to hiring, and a paid cadet program.
Civil Service Reform
York City operates under the third-class city code that dictates we must carry out certain requirements for the hiring of a police officer. I do not want to change the state Third Class City Code, rather I want to expand upon its requirements for the inclusion of under-represented persons such as females and/or racial minorities. The vast majority of applicants are white males, resulting in the majority of those hired being white males. Although under-represented persons pass the required testing portions of the hiring process at the same rate, we do not get enough under – represented applicants.
Civil Service points for cadet program completion
This allows for those that have already placed interest in the department to the degree that they are intimately aware of the position, therefore educating those about the career field and the York City Police Department, with the theory that they will excel in training and become a more lasting member of the department.
Civil Service points for residency (must be clearly defined)
The concept of attracting those who either currently live in the city or have spent a significant amount of time in the city, either living or working is based upon two thoughts. One is that the city has a much larger diverse population than the county and therefore is more likely to attract under – represented persons. My experience is that those that live or have lived in the city tend to train easier and excel faster. This is a skill set which is deserving of additional civil service points, which is applied after passing the written and oral examination.
Civil Service points for fluency in Spanish (must be tested)
This is another skill-based need of the York City Police Department which will simultaneously attract Hispanic applicants. Communication is an important part of every aspect of policing and not speaking the language of the victim or offender lessens our effectiveness. It is not reasonable to train officers to the degree of fluency; therefore, we must attract fluent Spanish speaking applicants to our departments and to induce their ranking by adding civil service points after their written and oral examinations.
The cadet program is centered around those ages 20 – 25 who may be interested in policing but are unsure. Because this is a paid program, it has a dual function. One is to relieve officers of common and easy to accomplish tasks that require little to no training so that officers can respond faster and more efficiently to calls requiring the training and experience of a police officer. The other function of a paid cadet program is to give cadets that experience of the functions of a police department without having to sacrifice the opportunities they may have with earning a living. The pay is not intended to be full time but rather a supplement to existing employment of the cadet.
The learning portion of this program will be 1 -3 years and at the completion of certain tasks and the evaluation of these tasks, civil service points can be added after meeting a minimum score on their written and oral examinations. The cadet must live in the city which promotes the ideas of the civil service point increase approach because they are easier to train and more likely to be an under – represented candidate.
Starting pay will be $10.00 an hour and we expect to have 4 cadets at any given time, totaling approximately $33,280 per year added to the police budget. This cost does not include other costs such as equipment and administrative and training costs. Total hours for each week will range from 12 – 16 hours and the budget will reflect hours worked instead of hours per week to allow flexibility to the cadet. For example, a cadet may be able to work 20 hours in one week but only 10 the next, the total hours will be reflective in the budgeting of this program.
Each cadet will be required to pass a background check as they will be exposed to sensitive police information and remain qualified throughout the program. They will also be required to take the consortium test because if the cadet is no longer interested in policing, it makes no sense to continue with the costs of training. The work completed by the cadet, although relieving officers of nonemergency duties, remains a primary function of training. Duties given to the cadet will cover responsibilities of the police department. They are primarily centered around the cadet receiving a wide range of experiences. The main functions of the cadet will be presentations to school aged children, completing reports, meeting with members of the community, participating in community services events, and ride along opportunities.
Upon being hired by the York City Police Department, we send new officers to the police academy, held by Harrisburg Area Community College, in Harrisburg, Pa. This is a 5 ½ month, full time commitment and cadets are paid a full salary and fully equipped. Many police departments that participate in the consortium do not have strict civil service laws and can choose anyone from the hiring list after all testing is complete and often opt to choose those candidates that have already completed the academy.
The police academy from HACC accepts candidates that are not hired nor committed to a police department. These students are called, “pre-service” and are not allowed to work during the full-time academy but can work during the part – time academy, which is the same course work, stretched out over 12 months. Motivated individuals pay their own way through these classes in the hopes they are hired by a police department either during their training or once they graduate. Typically, all pre – service students are hired within one year of their graduation.
The scholarship I propose is to sponsor and send a motivated person through the academy. This can benefit the York City Police Department and county police departments in several ways. Because we would send a person that is originally from the city, which needs to be defined, it is more likely that they will be an under – represented person. Because this process does not guarantee or give any points toward hiring, this scholarship can be required to have an under – represented person as the recipient of the scholarship. Although it is not a guarantee that the candidate will be hired by the York City Police Department, it is very likely that a county department will have the opportunity to hire them and by looking at the broader picture of county diversity, I believe the conversation alone will increase interest by under – represented persons, meaning if one police minority gets hired through this process, they can serve as an ambassador for future recipients. A requirement of receiving the scholarship will be completing the course or a portion will be paid back to the fund and they must apply to the York County Police Consortium for at least two testing cycles. Additional responsibilities will be assisting in the education of the police career field in conjunction with existing programs run by the York City Police Department.
The York City Police Department responsibilities will be to promote and conduct a series interviews for the scholarship with participation of local community leaders and possible funder. The academy requires a sponsor in the form of an active chief, and I will be that sponsor. A background investigation is required prior to acceptance to the academy and the York City Police Department will conduct that investigation free of charge.
Costs associated to the scholarship are tuition and equipment. Total cost for one recipient will be approximately $5,000, for both tuition and equipment. The funds will be paid directly to HACC and equipment suppliers; however, it will be administered by members of the York City Police Department.
Recruiting is just one of the many challenges of a police department and no solution to any problem faced by police departments can be found, and goals achieved, without the support and active participation of the residents. To this belief, the recruitment challenge is an opportunity where organizations that want to be participatory in the recruiting process. It is not enough for individuals nor organizations to state that our police department is not diverse racially or by gender, they are given the opportunity to be able to produce as the police department should be expected to produce.
The challenge is for organizations, with our help, to produce under – represented candidates to the consortium process and promote not only police as a viable career field but to apply to the York city Police Department. The production of these candidates will receive tours of the department, personal assistance in applying for the position, tutoring, which we have been providing for over 5 years, interview techniques, and introduction to other parts of the recruitment plan such as the scholarship component of the overall recruitment plan. These organizations will be asked to pay for application fee of approximately $50.00.
Several benefits will come through this process, one of which is the ongoing education of the public that the diversity of the police departments cannot happen without under – represented persons applying for the position to which less than ten percent of the total applicants, with totals as low as 12 applicants for a testing cycle. This education by the organizations can be explained and presented in full detail but until our partners in this plan feel and see that it is not as simple as hiring an under – represented person to expand our diversity, then the solutions to the lack of application cannot be reached.
Free College Course
Reaching those that are still in high school but actively deciding what they may want to pursue as adults is an opportunity that an Introduction to Criminal Justice Course may provide. I am an adjunct professor for both York College and Harrisburg Area Community College and qualified to teach that course for both colleges.
First, we will need to get the approval of one of the colleges to allow students to take the class free of charge, which is little to no expense since I will be teaching it, free of charge. The advantage to the college is they may obtain a student after their high school graduation and the benefit to the student is the free course credit but more importantly, they can experience whether college is a good choice for them and whether law enforcement may be viable career.
The concentration of students will come from the city to retain the consistency that if we draw possible future candidates from the city, it is more likely that an under – represented person will be exposed to the career field and the York City Police Department and hence an increase in applicants. I am proposing that the class contain 25 students, all seniors and 15 of them from the city. The selection of the students should be given to the school district as they know which students are more likely to take the class seriously and are prepared for college level material. Ten students will come from the county as part of overall goal of promoting diversity throughout the county. Those students will need to be transported into the York City School District or another location to be determined later.
The class will be held every two weeks and will be approximately 2hours in length. This allows for the first half of the class to be course material and the second half of the class can be guest speakers from around the county to introduce the student to parts of policing that are not given to typical college students. These guest speakers will introduce various parts of policing such as K-9, detectives, Special Victim’s Units, Patrol Division specifics, police administration, and leadership. At the end of the course, they will receive 3 college credits.
The costs associated with this portion of the plan include books and transportation. The costs from the college are in – kind contribution such as registration, setting up college email and online classroom. I will perform the instruction and the guest speakers will be volunteers. Transportation is a cost but at this point unknown to the amount because we do not know where the county students are coming from nor has the location of the class been determined, although I am confident, we can get transportation donated.
Long Term Plan
The long - term plan is primarily to maintain the short and mid – term plans and improve upon them. Once those plans become established, they should increase in participation. Other plans going as young as kindergarten have been suggested but pose several challenges. One such problem is determining whether the plan is working, even if we collect the data correctly, it would take 15 years to get results, then if we adjust from those results it would take another 15 years for those results to manifest. Another obstacle is resources, to which we have very little to spend on plans that take 15 years to evaluate. Therefore, the long - term plans for recruitment surround community services and improving overall image of policing as a brand.
To learn more about the application process click on the link below: