Sentinel staff report–
Curious how much police officers are paid, or what it takes to be hired as a cop?
As of mid-last month there were two police officer positions seeking to be filled within the Citrus Heights Police Department, with a job announcement currently posted on the city’s website and CalOpps.org. The recruitment is listed as “open and continuous,” part of the department’s ongoing hiring process to keep its 91 sworn positions filled as officers are promoted, retire or transfer to other agencies.
The job listing summarizes qualifications and benefits of working as a patrol officer and describes a work schedule of 10 or 12.5-hour shifts, along with pay between $32 – $41/hr. Here’s a few highlights of the qualifications:
- A college degree is not required. Individuals can apply with a high school diploma or equivalent, as long as they have graduated or will graduate within 90-days from a Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) approved academy, which typically takes six months to a year to complete.
- Character and people skills count. Ideal candidates are described as those seeking a “character-based agency” and who possess excellent communication and collaboration skills, along with good teamwork skills. The job listing also describes ideal candidates as those who are accountable for their actions and have “a public servant’s heart with an understanding of community-oriented policing and its application.”
- Knowledge and problem-solving matter. Candidates must also have the ability to “interpret, apply and make decisions based on federal, state, and local laws, policies and regulations.” Ideal candidates are also described as having “ideas, innovation and inspiration to find ‘a better way’ by viewing issues or problems as opportunities versus obstacles.”
- Staying calm is critical. As officers regularly respond to emergencies, the department says it’s looking for applicants with “clear thought and ability to perform in critical decision-making in emergency situations, while remaining calm.”
While officers’ work environment and long shifts can be stressful and demanding, in Citrus Heights the department says it makes an effort to offer benefits that help foster a healthy work-life balance. Here’s a few:
- Benefits package. Officers are given a package of “first class benefits,” including CalPERS retirement, 136 hours of accrued annual leave for vacation or sick time, 40 hours of long-term medical leave, monthly contribution toward health insurance, life and long-term disability insurance, and fully paid family dental and vision.
- A mini-sabbatical. The department calls a “Mini-Sabbatical” the “crown jewel” of its schedules, allowing patrol officers to have four consecutive weeks of paid time off — in addition to vacation and sick pay.
- Relocation assistance. Officers who live more than 60 miles away from Citrus Heights are offered a “relocation award” of $1,500 to help with costs of moving to the Sacramento area.
After submitting an application, candidates who make the cut as finalists are then required to complete a personal history statement and are also subject to a background investigation and polygraph or voice stress analysis examination. Finalists are also generally interviewed by the police chief, Ron Lawrence, or his designee.
Lawrence told The Sentinel on Tuesday that while his department will hire new recruits fresh out of the academy, CHPD generally prefers to try out candidates as reserve officers before hiring them on as full time police officers.