New SMCPD officers to be recruited

Four new police hires are authorized for the Santa Monica College Police Department, but it could take several months to hire them, especially if they are in the military or have lived out of state. The officers slated for hire are not necessarily a part of the recent security changes that came about as a result of the June 7 shooting that ended on the SMC main campus. Sgt. Mark Kessler of the SMCPD said that with money from Proposition 30, they are “free” to hire police.

“The new candidates are in the background phase of recruitment, which could take a few months depending on the recruit and how quickly information is obtained,” said Kessler.

The department has hired three officers since January 2010, Kessler said.

The hiring pool in which police officers come from other agencies is not that large due to retirement.

“It’s a big commitment,” said Carol Long, director of classified personnel at SMC. “We’re looking for a larger pool because we’re not filling the numbers as fast as we’d like to. If we bring more in the beginning then we can hire from within.”

If a recruit passes the initial background check — which includes a physical agility test, an interview with the SMCPD, and interviews with neighbors of the candidates — the recruit receives a tentative offer of employment. Upon the recruit accepting the offer, a medical screening and a psychological assessment follows, including a polygraph test.

This process can take a few months depending on the recruit.

“If they were in the military, or come from another state, it could take even longer,” Long said. “It depends on how fast [the police department] gets a response.”

This process is structured by the Commission of Peace Officers Standard Training, or POST, which develops and approves certain training and is the standard bearer for police officers. POST funding comes from the Peace Officers Training Fund, which consists of penalty assessments on traffic and criminal fines, according to the website.

NewsTina EadyComment