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January 15, 2013

Police academy to begin

Minimum of 10 participating

NORMAN — Norman Police Department will start a police recruitment academy next month with a minimum amount of applicants.

The academy will begin Feb. 8 and end on or about July 25, NPD Capt. Tom Easley said.

He said they currently only have 10 applicants that have received final offers for the academy. However, the department has 17 vacancies.

“We would have taken more if we could’ve found qualified applicants to fill positions,” he said.

Originally, the academy had more than 100 applicants, but only 10 received final offers due to integrity issues and possibly because of college requirements, Easley said.

The college requirement was previously 30 hours from an accredited college or university but was raised to 60 hours. Although that requirement was changed about 10 years ago, Easley said it’s something that still impacts applicants.

“That drops the number right there,” he said. “There’s also a lot of steps in the process, including written (tests) and agility tests.”

One thing that seems to majorly affect people, though, is integrity, he said.

“People don’t understand the need to tell the truth,” Easley said.

Many people said they had never used illegal drugs and then turn around before the polygraph and admitted to using them he said.

“As a police officer, if you don’t have integrity you don’t have anything,” he said.

The captain said that being a police officer is not just another job, it’s a very important job. When you are giving someone the means and authority to enforce the law, which can lead all the way up to taking someone’s life, “we want only those that are the absolute best.”

Easley said an idea has been circulating about beginning another academy as quickly as possible, maybe even before the end of the year. While the department generally does not start a recruitment class until the force has at least 10 vacancies, Easley estimates they will have 10 openings before the academy is over in July.

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