Police look for a few good men and women

Juneau Police Department recruiting new officers locally and nationally

Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2003

People looking to run toward danger, help the community and thwart the odd problem bear may want to apply to the Juneau Police Department.

JPD benefits

The Juneau Police Department offers the following benefits to officers:

• Starting salary $48,505 to $51,688

• Twenty-year retirement program

• Health insurance

• Advancement and training opportunities

Anyone interested in applying may contact the city's Personnel Department in person at 155 South Seward St., by phone at 586-5250, or by Internet at www.juneau.org/cbjobs.

The department began its latest local and nationwide recruitment effort Jan. 13. Applications will be accepted until March 7, according to its Web site, www.juneaupolice.com.

Vickie Stewart, a personnel assistant for the police, said in addition to advertising in Juneau, the department has put announcements on monster.com, an Internet site devoted to posting job openings, as well as various newspapers covering areas from Denver, Colo., to Albuquerque, N.M.

Assistant Chief Greg Browning said the department is hiring in order to stay ahead of attrition and to fill two positions the Juneau Assembly authorized for fiscal year 2004. He did not specify the number of recruits the department is hiring. There are 47 officers now.

"We're trying to look ahead and see what we might need," he said. "It takes a long time to hire a new officer. The testing process alone takes about three months and then they have to go through the police academy before we have a fully trained officer on staff."

Browning said applicants are given a battery of tests that gauge writing, reading and arithmetic skills as well as psychological and physical examinations. Police Lt. Walt Boman said that once a recruit passes the basic requirements tests, he or she is accepted into the state Department of Public Safety training academy in Sitka, a 13-week program that recruits are paid to attend.

Boman said the Juneau department actively is recruiting minorities and women to fill potential vacancies.

According to the Juneau police Web site, the minimum requirements for applicants include being a U.S. citizen, at least 21 years old, and a high school graduate or holder of a General Educational Development certificate. Recruits can't have any felony convictions, must have a valid driver's license, be able to type 25 words per minute, and able to pass an extensive background check.

Browning said the rigorous process helps the department recruit better-qualified applicants.

"We want to make sure we are getting the best possible applicants for the department," Browning said. "Two hiring cycles ago (two years ago), we didn't have anyone who could pass the basic requirements. Departments across the country have faced that same problem and usually lower their requirements, but we've never wanted to or had to do that.

"Last year we were able to hire five highly qualified people. I think that bodes well for this year."

Stewart said that one Juneau resident has turned in an application and 15 have inquired. The department also had 149 "hits" on monster.com from people around the country asking for applications.

Melanie Plenda can be reached mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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