What is the price of excellence? How can law enforcement executives fail to use every resource available when hiring the police applicant? The public must have the absolute confidence that when needed the law enforcement officer responding to their call for help, is representative of the best efforts of the law enforcement agency.
In 2002 the Law Enforcement Foundation, Inc published a book titled, "The Complete Guide to Hiring Law Enforcement Officers." The research conducted to produce this book was funded by the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, with the goal of providing government officials with the fundamental principles and guidelines for hiring quality entry level law enforcement personnel. Then Lt. Governor Maureen O'Connor introduced and endorsed this study.
Taken from the publication was the following introduction. "The hiring of a law enforcement officer is the single most important function of a law enforcement agency. It is these officers whom we hire that provide the service to our community members." It goes on to state, "The quality of the individuals hired will determine the quality of the organization. The single most important task of a law enforcement chief executive officer is hiring people."
As part of this study, key law enforcement criteria was established and recommended in the following sequential order:
1. Establish Law Enforcement Criteria for Officers
2. Written Examination
3. Physical Fitness Testing
4. Oral Interview
5. Personal History Questionnaire
6. Background Investigation
8. Entry Level Assessment Center
9. Psychological Examination
10. Medical Examination
This method of hiring is the norm in law enforcement agencies not only in Ohio, but across the United States. We no longer can rely on the "Good Ole Boy" method of choosing quality law officers. Hiring based on relations, community standing, or friendship are unreliable.
The three most critical parts of this process involve the background investigation, polygraph and psychological testing. Although the polygraph is not admissible in court it is used as a tool to detect truthfulness in the application and background process. It may assist in discovering important information about the applicant's history not reported or undetected activity yet found.
The psychological testing helps determine if the applicant has any traits or conditions that may make the applicant unsuitable for the pressures and stresses related to the law enforcement function. Many of these traits and flaws are not detected by simply interviewing the candidate, and can have serious consequences in the future.
As a law enforcement executive it is our primary duty to see that you are given the best service possible with the most qualified officers available. We must not minimize the process under the excuse of cost, or personal beliefs, but follow known established guidelines in our quest for excellence. Failure of a law enforcement executive to follow these guidelines is inexcusable.
Remember your freedom, or even your life may very well someday be in the hands of the man who wears the badge. You should demand the very best.
Chris E. Forshey
Candidate for Sheriff