City Manager Sam Listi said the city only hired officers certified by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officers Standards and Education, and in the process, excluded candidates who would potentially make great police officers.
Previous applicants said they could not afford to go without five months of wages to attend police academy training, especially those who have served in the military.
"What I quickly realized was the small pool of candidates we had," said Ellis, who took over BPD in April.
"Human resources informed me we had a big pool of people getting out of the military."
The police cadet program would allow hiring noncertified applicants and paying them wages while they attend police academy.
Candidates must in turn agree to at least a four-year commitment, or reimburse the city for police academy tuition costs.
Ellis said the cadet program will cover $175 in police academy tuition and five months pay at a rate just below first-year, certified officers.
Source: Killeen Daily Herald
It has been the practice for small agencies to hire already certified officers. If you are just starting out in law enforcement you have to foot the bill to pay for the training to get certified. You also have to figure out a way to feed yourself for the 4 to 5 months you are in the academy.
This really kills the applicant pool. When I started in law enforcement I interviewed with a small town agency. When they told me I would have to foot the bill for this and figure out a way to feed myself during that time I went looking for, and found an agency that would pay for this training. Why spend all this money just to come to work at an agency that is also likely to pay less than other agencies? Larger agencies are then more attractive as they pay you to train for the job and you'll get more once you pin on that badge.
Hopefully, this will help to level the playing field for Belton PD.