Warwick Police looks to fill ranks, build recruiting list

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As the Warwick Police Department is not at its full complement of officers, is the city less safe?

Not according to Warwick Chief of Police Colonel Stephen McCartney. Even though Warwick Police Department is down 12 officers, and three more retirements are expected to come in the fall, McCartney maintains confidence.

“It doesn’t affect the operational posture of the department,” he said Friday. He said minimum manning maintains levels of coverage and overtime comes into play.

But the chief isn’t waiting to boost the department to its full complement of 175 officers. On Thursday McCartney was joined by Mayor Scott Avedisian to promote an accelerated recruitment drive to ensure the department will have a good class of candidates to send to the next Municipal Police Training Academy in January. The current list of candidates has been depleted.

“There is an urgency to get more police officers on board,” said McCartney. “We’re fighting the battle of attrition.”

Warwick PD expects to be able to identify the top 10 candidates and ready them for the upcoming academy class. There are currently 100 applicants, with numbers expected to reach between 140 and 200 by the Sept. 1 deadline. The remaining candidates that successfully complete the application process and subsequent tests will be placed on an eligibility list that lasts for two years starting on October 2.

First year officers can expect a starting salary of $42,652 with salary steps starting after four years of service. There is medical, dental and prescription coverage, as well as options of liability and life insurance. Usually, the workweek is a rotating schedule of four days on and two days off, including 14 paid holidays annually. Officers start off with 19 vacation days, and will gain more through additional years of service.

The Warwick Police Department is accredited by CALEA, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, Inc.

“The highest of standards are expected of all our candidates and all of the recruits that come forward,” said Mayor Avedisian. “We are looking forward to having a very diverse pool of applicants that we can choose from.”

According to an informational flyer, applicants should be of good moral character, which Colonel McCartney elaborated on. The applicants should be a representation of a diverse community, including women and minorities. They should show critical traits like an even temperament, the ability to demonstrate good judgment, and the respect for all citizens. To be qualified, applicants will need to demonstrate creative problem solving skills, the ability to handle pressure, and a quickness to recognize fast-paced situations. Finally, McCartney explained they should show a “good propensity for basic leadership skills.”

Colonel McCartney concluded the event with an explanation of the application process. To apply, there is a $40 fee. If an individual has any hardships, they can contact the professional services division of the Warwick PD. Following the end of the application period, a physical agility test will be held at Warwick Veterans High School on Sept. 16. For those who pass the physical agility test, the written test will be held at the same location on the following day. Oral boards will be held at the end of September.

Final results will be calculated and applicants will be ranked according to their overall score on the department’s hiring eligibility list. Warwick P.D. expects that “somewhere between 10 to 12 officers” will be hired from the list.

Applications will be accepted on www.policeapp.com/warwickri.

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