Clovis police officers Clay Cullison, left, Joel Holt, center, and Shane Sanders are all in field training with the Clovis Police Department. Cullison and Sanders have been with the department for a little over a month. (CNJ staff photo: Eric Kluth)
Clovis police have cut vacancies in half since city officials approved a pay increase in November, Police Chief Bill Carey said on Thursday.
Carey said the police department is looking to fill seven vacancies; about three months ago, the department had 15 vacancies.
“It is a very time-consuming project and we are moving as quickly as we can to fill these slots with quality people,” Carey said. “And that’s our main goal, to hire quality people.”
The police department received a $714,000 annual raise in November, between $2 and $5 an hour for most officers.
City officials have said Clovis PD has about 50 officers when fully staffed.
Carey said the police raises have made the department competitive with other regional law-enforcement agencies. In recent months, he said Clovis police have been able to hire qualified officers from smaller communities and retain officers who might otherwise have left.
“The recruitment process is more active than it has been in a long time,” Carey said, “(but) you are always going to have a vacancy here and there.”
Capt. M.J. Ingram, who heads up recruitment for the department, said a new computer-based recruiting system allows all applications to get to his desk almost as soon as they are filed. However, it will take up to two months for a new officer to go through all the security checks, aptitude and physical exams and other pre-employment certifications.
After that, a certified officer can go directly into a 14-week field training program, where a senior officer will daily report on the progress of the new recruit. For non-certified applicants, they must go to a 22-week police academy and receive certification from the New Mexico Department of Public Safety before they can start working the streets.
Radio and television advertisements as well as job-fair attendance are some of the ways Clovis police are getting their message out that they are looking for qualified candidates, Ingram said.
Minimum qualifications for employment in the Clovis Police Department:
• Graduation from high school or a GED.
• Must be 21 years old.
• Must be a United States citizen.
• No felony convictions.
• No misdemeanor convictions in the last three years.
• No convictions for domestic violence or DWI.
• Must have or be able to get a New Mexico driver’s license and have a good driving record.
• Passing the written and physical exams, as well as a background check.
Source: Clovis Police Department recruitment brochure.