Kokomo Police Department officials hope recent updates to the department’s hiring policy will produce a larger and more diverse list of candidates vying to join the police force.
Specifically, changes in the policy put emphasis on officers laterally transferring from other departments after having received necessary accreditation from the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy – a move Kokomo Fraternal Order of Police President Jeramie Dodd expects to be financially prudent and provide quality applicants.
“A lot of guys would get out of the academy and see some of the unfortunate things that police officers see, and decide the job wasn’t for them,” said Dodd, who laid out the process of hiring new officers.
Once an applicant is hired, they are put through the state-funded police academy. However, Dodd said, the department is tasked with providing the trainee’s academy uniform and with paying their salary and benefits during the 16-week span of their training at the academy.
“Now, if we have someone who’s already been through the academy, maybe who’s already worked as a police officer, we obviously would not have to pay somebody to go through the police academy, we would not have to buy their uniform and we would not have to provide benefits during that academy time,” said Dodd.
“It’s a step in the right direction if you ask me. I’d be the first to tell you if there was something I didn’t like, but this is certainly a financially responsible decision, and I think it’s going to benefit the Kokomo Police Department in good ways.”
KPD Maj. Brian Seldon said that while lateral hires are not unprecedented for the department, updated policy puts more emphasis on the value of lateral hires. He also expressed KPD’s desire to increase and diversify KPD’s candidate pool – a list that Seldon said has traditionally been shrinking.
“We want our pool to reflect our community that we live, and our department to reflect that,” said Seldon, saying KPD is reaching out to increase the number of minorities jumping into the recruitment process and eventually onto the force.
KPD is not unique in that desire, said Seldon, noting that police departments across the country are trying to create a more racially-broad police force.
Additionally, lateral hires represent an effective avenue to get new officers on the job in a timely manner. An officer new to the force but with prior policing experience slashes the amount of time needed in field training, said Seldon, putting new officers on the street much sooner.
There’s currently no definitive answer to how many officers are being sought to join KPD, which currently consists of 83 officers.
“As president of the union, of course, I ask for as many as I can possibly get,” said Dodd, who explained that policy changes came about through multiple meetings with police administration.
KPD recently distributed information about their latest round of hiring, with applications available both at the department and on the city’s website: www.cityofkokomo.org.
The deadline for completing the application process is May 25, according to a KPD press release.