Earlier this month, some email threads were going around the community about the Roseville Police Department’s police officer staffing. I addressed it in an email to the City Council and now want to elaborate on that a bit.
First, a history lesson may help. Since at least the 1980s, by state statue Roseville was authorized to hire two part-time police officers. Part-time officers are generally employed by out-state, smaller towns that share police officers or need more assistance in the summer, such as Breezy Point, MN. I am not aware if Roseville ever took advantage of hiring part-time officers. Nearly 15 years ago, the state took those two positions from Roseville by statute, along with other cities that were not currently employing part-time officers. So we cannot quickly hire a part-time officer like many companies can hire employees through a temporary service.
This year, we experienced something that I have not seen in my nearly three decades at RPD; two officers resigned for other career opportunities, and at nearly the same time, two new officers resigned while still in training. One week, we were fully staffed at 48 police officers, now “poof,” we are down by four.
At this same time, we had nine finalists from an exhaustive police officer hiring process. Of those nine, we were only able to hire two and they start with us in June and July, beginning a four-month, plus field training program. Seven vanished off the list—”poof.”
What happened? The following are reasons candidates vanish off Roseville’s hiring list: being snapped up by other agencies, not passing the background check, not passing the intensive psychological examination, and not passing a recent psychological exam with another law enforcement agency. Our extensive background investigations and psychological examinations, along with our field training program, are ways we attempt to hire and train the very best police officers for Roseville. We don’t take shortcuts.
We quickly initiated another hiring process which concluded this week. We hope the two new officers will begin in August for their four-month plus training program.
How do we keep adequate police services patrolling Roseville while down several positions? We limit time off and supplement through overtime shifts. Remember, no part-time police officers.
Chief Rick Mathwig
This post was originally published as part of the June 28, 2019 edition of Chief Mathwig’s newsletter, One Chief’s Perspective.