The Pasadena Police Department is embarking on a mission to hire about two-dozen new officers to replace others who are expected to retire over the next two months, officials said.
The search will prioritize candidates from Pasadena and surrounding communities, Pasadena Police Chief John Perez said. The majority of the upcoming retirements are related to injuries or medical issues.
It’s far from the easiest time in history to be a police officer, with an ongoing pandemic, spiking gun violence, and a charged political climate, Perez said. But for a person seeking to make a difference in the community, it might be the right fit. “It’s very purposeful,” he said.
“We are asking for the community’s support. We are asking the community to apply,” Perez said. “We believe this is a great city to work for.”
The two-dozen positions for entry-level officers will be listed on the city’s Human Resources website in the coming days at https://www.cityofpasadena.net/human-resources.
A high school diploma is required and candidates must pass a background check, but no formal training is needed, Perez said.
The chief said he wanted to hire as many of the new officers as possible from the local community.
While many aspects of policing are universal, every department and city thinks a bit differently, Lt. William Grisafe said.
With the hiring process, the police academy, and training, it takes well over 18 months for a newly hired officer to begin work, Perez said.
In order to help fill some of the two-dozen expected vacancies more quickly, the department will also seek to hire some “lateral” officers from other agencies, as well as candidates who have already completed police academy training, officials said.
Perez said he didn’t expect filling the vacancies with qualified officers would be an easy task.
When it comes to hiring officers, “It’s more competitive than ever before,” Perez said.
Roughly one of every 100 candidates that generally apply ends up qualifying as eligible based by statewide Peace Officers Standards and Training standards, officials said.
The danger involved with being a police officer is very real, Perez said.
Shootings have more than doubled over last year in Pasadena this year, he said. About 30 injuries to officers have been reported year-to-date. Police have seized about 230 guns this year.
The political atmosphere appears to be deterring some people from a career in law enforcement.
“For all the goodness of the social movement, there are a few (things) on the negative side,” Perez said. “The job is less appealing to young people to apply for, and especially young people of color.”
Police work is not for everyone, Perez said. But for those with a desire to improve their community, it’s the opportunity of a lifetime.
“There’s a lot of ups and downs, but at the end of the day, we’ve got to have the fortitude to want to be better,” he said.
More information on the process of applying for the Pasadena Police Department is available online at cityofpasadena.net/police/join.