Norwich police force looks to fill ranks - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Norwich police force looks to fill ranks

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Norwich police force looks to fill ranks (WFSB) Norwich police force looks to fill ranks (WFSB)

Police departments in many communities are having a tough times finding qualified candidates to become officers.

It is a lengthy and time-consuming process to find, train and put officers on the beat.

The city of Norwich is actively looking for six new police officers in order to be fully staffed.

Just to get those six, hiring officials will probably weed through 40 to 50 candidates, as it is difficult to find the right person.

Mario Castro, 26, is one of the newer hires filling the ranks of the 88-member Norwich Police Department.

He’s coming up on his third anniversary as an officer, and because his department is looking for new members, he’s trying to talk some of his friends into a career in law enforcement.

"I have a few people that want to apply and get in, but it’s hard,” Castro said.

Police departments are hard to recruit because they have to deal with a mixture of bad publicity, and finding the right candidate that can weather a 30-page application, mental and physical testing, a polygraph and an intense screening and training.

"I kind of got interested in it in high school and pursued it,” Castro said.

His Spanish-speaking background is an asset to the city as well.

Investigator Chris Merrill said he spends about six weeks checking out each candidate.

He said finding recruits is tough and the whole process could take up to one year, even before going to the police academy.

"What we do is look at a case by case basis. Of what they've done in the past what they've disclosed and what they've done since then,” Merrill said.

"This is a unique job. We're out in the community 24/7 and we need recruits who can adapt to the environment,” said Norwich Police Chief Louis Fusaro.

The New London Police Department just filled its ranks, and in order to get 10 officers, they went through a candidate pool of 30.

Anyone interested in a career in law enforcement should check with their local department.

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