2 out of 11 applicants to join NPD remain eligible

Published 11:32 pm Monday, July 10, 2017


NATCHEZ — Out of the 11 applicants who applied to join the Natchez Police Department, two remain eligible to join the force, Natchez Interim Police Chief Shawn T. King said.

Testing of the probationary officers began June 30.

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NPD’s selection process, carried out by the Civil Service Commission, has four main stages:

  • A written entrance examination
  • A “PT test,” which evaluates applicants’ physical fitness
  • A background investigation
  • An oral interview in front of the Civil Service board
  • To date, applicants have completed two of those components.

The first step of the process, King said, is a written entrance examination, which four of the 11 applicants passed.

Subsequently, those who passed the written exam advanced to the physical fitness portion of testing. The PT test incorporates an agility run, push-ups, a 1½-mile run, a trunk flexion test — which gauges flexibility — and a 3-mile walk.

King said performance criteria of this test are based on age and gender. Males and females are each broken up into four age categories — 20-29, 30-39, 40-49 and 50 and older — each group having different requirements.

King said only two applicants remained eligible following the PT test.

King also said, however, the department is investigating one of the remaining applicants who was “allegedly involved in a criminal act while employed at another law enforcement agency.”

Though King had hoped more would pass these tests, he said the results were fairly standard.

“Generally, they’ve been pretty much the average for a while,” King said. “Usually it’s 12, 13 maybe that will take the test, and usually five or six pass.

“Out of those five to pass the (written) exam, then they’ll move on to the PT test, and usually the PT test is what kind of lowers our numbers,” King said.

After successfully completing the written and physical tests, candidates are then subjected to a background investigation. If everything checks out, the candidates would then go in front of the Civil Service Commission for an oral interview.

Upon passing that interview, the remaining applicants would be placed on an eligibility list, at which time the department could hire those applicants any time over the course of a year.

The police department is currently understaffed, having 38 positions filled out of the 46 spots allocated to the department. Accounting for one officer currently taking a medical leave of absence, the department has 37 working officers.

As a short-term best-case scenario, the hiring of the two potential probationary officers would give the department 39 employees. But those officers, as King noted, would still have to pass through the police academy and go through a training period before becoming full-fledged officers.

King also said, however, NPD has a separate category of prospective hires; the department aims to hire two “post-certified” officers in addition to the probationary officers.

These post-certified officers have received certification outside of Mississippi and would only need to take a short “refresher course” to familiarize themselves with state laws and procedures.

King said post-certified officers do not have to take the written or physical tests as part of their hiring process.

Still, the department would be five or six officers short —depending on whether you count the officer on medical leave — of 46 even after hiring all current prospects.

King said he would approach the Civil Service board about the possibility of additional testing in the near future.