New Britain Police Looking For Plenty Of Good Men And Women
By DON STACOM,
The Hartford Courant
5:49 PM EDT, July 14, 2012
Officer Armando Elias speaks with Marvin Flores of Windsor at New Britain's Puerto Rican Festival on High Street Saturday about the process of joining the police force. The New Britain Police Department was recruiting at the event. Flores, a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, is also part of the Hispanic-American Veterans of Connecticut. At right is Sgt. Julia Gallup. (Brad Horrigan, Hartford Courant / July 14, 2012)
Help wanted: $53,469 to start, with steady raises to $64,747 in less than three years.
Upsides: Bountiful opportunities for overtime, generous vacation schedules, a rare opportunity to make New Britain and its people safer. No day is the same as the last.
Downsides: Night duty, holiday and weekend assignments, and a demanding work environment with occasional violence, danger and medical emergencies mixed in.
If all of that sounds like it might be appealing, the city police department wants to hear from you. It has so many job openings that it's hoping you'll tell a friend, too.
With more than 40 jobs vacant and more expected to open by the end of the year, police administrators are actively recruiting for talented, energetic and capable recruits. Several officers worked a booth at the Puerto Rican festival near downtown on Saturday, encouraging city residents to consider applying.
"It's a good job. It's not all fun and laughs, but there are times when it can be rewarding, said Acting Lt. Allan Raynis, who has been a New Britain police officer for the 41 years and said he still enjoys the work.
"If you help at the scene of a crisis, show somebody some compassion or empathy — that can go a long way," Raynis said.
The department has perhaps a half-dozen Spanish speakers among its roughly 130 officers, even though roughly a third of the city's population comes from Puerto Rican heritage. Interim Chief James Wardwell wants to have more, and so he assigned a team of officers to a recruiting booth at the festival. Officer Armando Elias, who was born in Puerto Rico, was working the crowd Saturday to talk up the advantages of joining the police force.
"This is a great place, the job offers a relatively good salary and good benefits, and there's a lot of opportunity to give back to the community," he said. "The new chief is committed to hiring more Spanish-speaking people, and we need that. We can use a lot of good people."
Elias had complained last year of discrimination, but said that the agency is making huge improvements under Wardwell.
Mayor Tim O'Brien, who stopped to shake hands with Elias, made a pitch from the stage for New Britain people to apply for police jobs.
Wardwell is eager to get the best applicants into training as soon as possible because the patrol and detective staffs are operating short-handed. But he also has vowed that New Britain won't lower its standards just to fill slots on the payroll.
Officer John Jackman, a former Marine, swapped military stories with some visitors to the recruiting booth, and assured young people from the city's poorer neighborhoods that they might be able to land a police job if they stay out of trouble in their youth.
"I'm a Hartford boy — I grew up in the North End. I know you can grow up in these neighborhoods and make something of yourself," said Jackman, a 12-year police veteran.
Potential recruits can learn about the job and the application process at http://www.policeapp.com/. They will need to undergo a written test, a physical agility exam, oral interviews and background checks.
Copyright © 2012, The Hartford Courant