By Ani Shahinian
Asbarez Staff GLENDALE–Never in the history of the Glendale Police Department have more positions been available for those thinking of pursuing a career in law enforcement. "It’s a golden opportunity; there are positions for officer recruits–police cadets–and community service officers," says Sergeant Vahak Mardikian who is always ready to talk to potential applicants. "It is always helpful to talk to any officer within the department to gain a better understanding of what it takes."
Lt. Bruce Fox–who heads the department’s Professional Standards Bureau and is responsible for all hiring–said that while the department is working more diligently to be representative of the community–the task becomes difficult when trying to expand and hire in larger numbers.
"The pressure is on to not only expand but to also diversify the department at the same time," says Fox–addressing the number of applicants who actually qualify.
While there were a good pool of applicants seven to ten years ago–there has been a huge shrinkage among all nationalities since then.
Fox explained that all Southern California departmen’s face the same problem–and attributed the trend to the current low level of unemployment–along with the public’s perception of police in general.
But Fox says that the opportunities are expansive. He especially described the department’s Cadet Program as an ideal means to attain experience in law enforcement.
The part time program is open to full time college students currently enrolled in an accredited college or university carrying 9 units or more per semester–or eight units or more per quarter–with a GPA of at least 2.0.
The program allows participants to tailor work schedules around school schedules–allowing exposure to a variety of areas in the police department–and the opportunity to attain diverse experience.
The process to become a police officer begins by filing an application–followed by a written test covering basic writing–vocabulary–and comprehension skills in English. If successful–applicants go through a physical agility test–followed by an oral examination. It is during the oral examination that maturity level and decision making skills are measured.
Once an applicant successfully completes these stages–a background check–which can take up to three months–is conducted.
It is during this stage of the process–says Fox–that many problems arise. Considering that trustworthiness is a must for all positions–Fox emphasized the importance of a clean background.
In order to better inform the community about what it takes to become a successful police officer–an information session will be held on Tuesday–September 7–at the Glendale Police Department’s Community Room. It is presented by the Glendale Human Resources Department in conjunction with the Glendale Police Department. "The session will allow prospective applicants to better understand whether they are ready to serve the community," says Lt. Fox.
The program–which begins at 6:30 p.m.–will have speakers and officers on hand to answer any questions–including Sgt. Mardikian who says that the Glendale Police Department is ready to assist in any way it can.
"The community has so much potential and is such a positive place to work. In the bigger departmen’s you get lost in the shuffle–but in Glendale–you feel like you accomplish something every day. It’s a good balance," says Lt. Fox–who has wanted to be a Glendale police officer since 8th grade.
For more information go to www.police.ci.glendale.ca.us or call (818) 548-3117.