When people ask me why police tests are so hard to pass, I can only think of one answer: “Why not?” After all, I would definitely want the top quality police officer that there is should I depend my life on that person.
If we were to go deeper into the reality of sourcing out for police officers, you would be surprised to know that a staggering 70% of applicants for the police department at Las Vegas failed their entrance exam. In 2005, El Paso Texas conducted a mass recruitment of police officers and 62% of the applicants failed the entrance exam. These numbers are to be taken seriously because these two cities, Las Vegas especially, have significantly grown in terms of population. With
growth comes a higher demand in safety and security and that would not be efficiently achieved if there was a great imbalance between the number of police officers and population. So why do these applicants fail?
Let us look into the components of the entrance exam. The first component is a multiple-choice or written police test. This exam requires applicants to score high to even be considered to move on the applicant intends to take it seriously will pass and move on.
The second component is the physical training workout that is a “mix of calisthenics, agility and running drills”, (70 percent of applicants fail Las Vegas police entrance exam, 2007). Assuming that police officer applicants are physically fit, this should be the easiest part of the entrance exam. The last component is the department’s background check and polygraph exam. Now this is where the applicant mortality spikes.
Although the applicants are highly discouraged from lying, most of them assume that they would get away with their “dirty” past. Of course the department’s recruitment team found out about every criminal act that applicants have done in the past and they were automatically disqualified from the program.
The recruitment team from Las Vegas addressed the issue of high disqualification rate by creating a marketing type of recruitment. They showcased the attractive qualities of Las Vegas, such as climate and economy, to attract applicants from all over the country. On the other hand, the El Paso Texas opened its recruitment effort once more for the first time since 2008.
I hope that the police departments would continue to look into different strategies in recruitment and motivation. Perhaps a better pre-qualification program for the applicants would help in addressing the issue of disqualification. A more adaptive entrance exam or departmentalized type of entrance exam might be more cost-effective that raising a nationwide recruitment campaign. Nevertheless, the police force must step up.