By Jeff Gallatin
Police Chief Jamie Gallagher will be looking to the spring for more than just good weather.
City officials hope to have the hiring process for three new patrol officers well under way in the next few weeks. They will be the first new officers hired by the city in several years. Two will be replacing the positions left open by a retirement and an officer resigning to take a police teaching position. The third will fill the slot in the budget previously occupied by Jim Carbone, the school resource officer. Last year, the school district agreed to assume the responsibility for funding Carbone’s position.
Gallagher said he believes the civil service test for the patrol positions puts the city in a good position for hiring the trio of officers.
“It was a very good test in terms of people taking it and giving us good potential candidates,” he said. “There were 149 people who took it, and based on the data I saw, we got a lot of candidates, with many of them already being OPOTA (Ohio Police Officer Training Academy)-certified.”
Gallagher said the department has already been given the top seven scoring candidates so the department can begin doing background checks. Of those seven, five have the OPOTA certification.
“It helps a lot when they already have that OPOTA certification, because it means we won’t have to send them to the academy, which will save us time and money when we bring them into the city,” he said. “The certification is not the only thing we look at, but it is helpful. If we see a really good candidate who doesn’t have it, we will send them. We also like it when they have some good real-world experience in other jobs, because it helps teach them good judgment and dealing with other people and problems, which is good for a police officer.”
In addition, Gallagher said the department also will have to make sure the top candidates have their agility tests taken care of. “We’re hoping to get all that taken care of by April,” he said. “That way we can finish getting through the other parts and get some of them on board by late spring, so we can get them with field training officers in the department.”
Gallagher said he is adding more field training officers in the department.
“There’s going to be a need, because in addition to the three officers coming in this year, there will be a need for them in the future because we will have a good number of officers eligible to leave in the next few years as well,” he said. “We need to make sure we have that next group of officers coming in and ready to step up because other officers will be moving into supervisory positions because we have a lot of supervisors who will be leaving in three to four years.”
With the addition in personnel, the department will have 45 officers.
North Olmsted human resources Director Cheryl Farver said the test will aid the city.
“We’re very pleased with the results of the the test,” she said. “Our new testing company handled it extremely well.”
She said the list of candidates will be good for two years.