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Ask the Chief: Vetting new officers is thorough process

"Ask The Chief" allows readers access to useful information about law enforcement issues in Red Wing. This communication tool has been developed to enhance community policing efforts by providing residents and visitors with the opportunity to ask questions about local laws, programs and the department in general.

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Q: What is the process for hiring a Red Wing Police Department officer?

A: Thank you for this question, due to the authority, responsibility and trust provided to RWPD patrol officers, I take this process very seriously. Once an application is received it is scored by employee services to ensure that the applicant meets the minimum requirements to be a peace officer in the state of Minnesota — they must have a two-year degree and be eligible for Minnesota Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) licensing. We then invite the top 30 applicants to participate in a written test that grades the applicants in eight personality factors that are indicative of good policing ability. Employee services then totals the scores from the application and testing to determine the top 15-20 applicants.

The top 15-20 applicants are then invited to participate in an interview panel that consists of the employee services human resources manager; a RWPD patrol officer, a community member and the chief of police. Interview scores are then added to the application and testing scores to determine a hiring roster that is valid for one year from the date of first hired from the list. If the department has an opening, the first person on the list is given a conditional offer of employment.

Once an applicant is given a conditional offer of employment, they complete a background investigations packet, to include a set of fingerprints for a detailed investigation. If the background investigation does not reveal any problems in the applicant's past, they are then scheduled for a psychological evaluation, physical agility testing and a full medical physical. Pending successful completion of this process the applicant is then hired as a RWPD probationary patrol officer and the Minnesota POST Board is notified to activate the applicants peace officer license.

Probationary officers then spend four months riding with a more senior field training officer, to ensure they can perform the job safely and in accordance with state and city laws and policies, prior to moving to single patrol vehicles normally during the fifth month of hire. The officer remains on probation for 12 months from date of hire, and upon successful completion of probation, the officer will be presented to the city council for a formal oath of office and badge pinning ceremony.