EVERETT — Officers in Everett have a new assignment from Police Chief Dan Templeman: Be on the watch for people of character who can join the ranks.
Templeman is aiming to fill 21 vacant officer positions — more than a tenth of the department’s police force. Hiring is his first priority for 2015.
Departments around Snohomish County and the U.S. have been struggling to find qualified candidates, Templeman said. Everett police are trying more aggressive recruiting, using Twitter and Facebook, and seeking military veterans in particular.
The best recruiting tool, the chief said, is a current officer.
“From the chief on down, we are out there in the community promoting the benefits of this profession,” Templeman said. “There are challenges and the job can be stressful and sometimes you see people at their worst, but in the end, I think what really supersedes it all is you do make a difference out there, and the community relies on you.”
The city budget authorizes the department to employ 201 commissioned police officers.
Compared to when Templeman started out 22 years ago, officers face more scrutiny and operate under more complex case law than ever before, Templeman said.
He needs people who are going to be problem solvers.
“We are looking for quality individuals who have clean backgrounds, who have a demonstrated history of making good decisions, ethical decisions, and people who exercise common sense and have the ability to work through complex situations,” he said.
Everett is a diverse, growing community, the chief said. A mid-size city offers a different experience than a major metropolitan department or a small-town cop shop.
Still, Everett is small enough to offer opportunities for promotion and special assignments, Templeman said. About two dozen of the city’s officers have been with the force more than 25 years.
“In Everett, you’re going to be busy,” Templeman said. “You’re going to be interacting with the community and a lot of those interactions are positive.”
Entry-level candidates have to pass a written test and a physical fitness test. There’s also a psychological exam, a polygraph and a background investigation. Candidates who are already working as police officers have fewer application steps.
Candidates must be 21 years old before their hiring can be finalized. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. First-year officers earn a base salary of about $61,000.
The job offers a chance to improve lives and neighborhoods, Templeman said.
“That something you can walk away from at the end of your day and say I really made a difference today,” he said.
More information is available at 425-257-8506 or www.everettpolice.org.
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; email@example.com.