The best advice for anyone who might want to work in law enforcement: Stay out of trouble.
So says Donald Hatch, a 10-year veteran of the Toledo Police Department who, as someone who runs background checks on police and fire recruits, knows exactly what can get a recruit booted from the process.
"Keep your nose clean," Officer Hatch said. "Any little thing can toss you out."
Officer Hatch was one of several Toledo officers and Ohio Highway Patrol troopers talking to police and trooper hopefuls in the lobby of One Government Center on Tuesday.
Both agencies are looking to interest as many people as possible to start building up ranks primarily because of attrition and years without hiring.
Highway Patrol Lt. John Altman said the state agency hasn’t made any hires in about two years, although there is a class of about 100 cadets in the state’s academy.
The academy, Lieutenant Altman said, is a six-month live-in facility academy (with weekends off), in contrast to the Toledo Police Academy, which sends recruits home at the end of every day. The Toledo Police Academy is also six months long.
Both agencies have recruitment information — including age requirements, salary information, and minimum physical ability — on their Web sites, toledopolice.com and statepatrol.ohio.gov/recruit/index.html.
The Toledo Police Department, which has a class of 40 in its academy, is looking to hire 75 people for a class that would start in the academy in September, 2013.
Lt. Brian Twining, in the recruitment bureau, said that, so far, about 2,900 people have signed up to take the civil service exam in December. Department officials hope to recruit enough possible candidates to build several future academy classes.
Officer Darnell Peters, who was temporarily assigned to recruitment but is usually working with the gang unit, said he wanted to join TPD “because I thought I’d have a secure job.”
The seven-year officer was one of dozens of officers laid off in 2009 but later recalled, he said.
Officer Hatch was also one of the laid-off, and recalled, officers.
The job, in the 10 years Officer Hatch has been on patrol, has changed because “society has changed.”
“You still have some people who respect the police and respect the job you do ... but to other people we’re the enemy,” he said. “Society has changed. It can get ugly real quick.”
Contact Taylor Dungjen at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6054.