Applications for Los Angeles police officer jobs surged last month as LAPD recruiters began advertising crime-fighting as one of the few recession-proof careers.
The spike in interest, from 401 people taking the applicants’ written test in December 2007 to 870 a year later, followed months of sharp but less eye-popping increases, recruiters said.
Recruiters’ message to job seekers: Although being a police officer might not be completely safe, it is relatively secure.
“During these times of economic uncertainty,” read a full-page advertisement that appeared in December in the Los Angeles Daily News and on job-hunting Web sites, “the (LAPD) is always looking for a few good women and men to protect and to serve our communities. Never have to face a layoff again! Start your new career today!”
The downturn in the economy has offered an upside for the LAPD as it tries to meet Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s goal of achieving a 10,000-officer force by the fall. The department, which now has nearly 9,800 officers, has been hiring about 60 a month, more than making up for losses to retirement and attrition, Cmdr. Jim Cansler said.
Cansler, who heads the LAPD’s personnel group, said only one in every 10 or 11 applicants typically ends up in uniform.
“With the demands on the department, the calls for service, as we try to make Los Angeles the safest city it can be, we need officers,” Cansler said. “The only way to get there is to hire officers and not lay anybody off.”
The LAPD has been trying to boost its officer ranks to bring it in line with staffing standards at other large metropolitan police departments. The LAPD has fewer officers per capita than many other major cities, and patrols a much larger geographic area.
The recruiting effort does not apply to the LAPD’s nonsworn, civilian staffing, which has 500 open positions.
Cansler said the “economic uncertainty” ad – which made its first newspaper appearance shortly after Thanksgiving – can help LAPD reach beyond the military veterans and police officers’ relatives who make up the typical applicants’ pool.
“That ad is aimed at two (kinds of) people,” Cansler said. “The young person who is aware of the downsizing of companies, letting them know that if you work for LAPD, you’ll never have to worry about that. (And) the person who is in a job where they are contemplating layoffs.
“For somebody who has never considered being a police officer before, now is the time to think about it.”
Cansler said that beyond the economy’s impact on the job market, he can’t think of a reason for the rise in applications for so-called “Officer I” positions, which promise starting salaries of $56,522 to $75,878 depending on education and experience.
Before December’s 117 percent year-to-year increase in test-taking applicants, the LAPD had been exceeding its recruiting goals for months, said Janeshia Robinson, a senior recruiting analyst for the Los Angeles Police and Fire departments. Applications were up by about one-third in September, October and November compared with the same months in 2007, Robinson said.
Robinson said she’s one of four people who dreamed up the ad reminding job-seekers that even as other industries are slowing down, crime and crime-fighting remain vigorous.
“Our team works hard to see we put out a message that’s relevant and to-the-point,” Robinson said. “We just tried to think of a way to speak to the current employment pool.
“Usually, we say we’re looking for somebody who wants to make a difference, to appeal to pride in community. (But) seeing an ad like that (pitching job security) might prompt somebody to give us a second look.
“There are probably a lot of people out there who would be good at a career in public safety, and the economy might be the catalyst for them to try.”
It generally takes three to four months for a successful applicant to enter the Los Angeles Police Academy – at which point he or she begins to draw a salary – and at least nine months to join the force, Robinson said.
She said applications to the Los Angeles fire department also have increased, but this is thought to stem more from changes in application requirements. (Ontario Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)
Wanted by the FBI: agents, language specialists, computer experts, intelligence analysts and finance experts.
The FBI said on Monday it had launched one of the largest hiring blitzes in its 100-year history involving 2,100 professional staff vacancies and 850 special agents aimed at filling its most critical vacancies.
The agency, which seeks to protect the United States from terrorist attack, fight crime and catch spies, among other duties, said it currently has more than 12,800 agents and about 18,400 other employees.
Since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, the FBI has been criticized for not having enough employees fluent in foreign languages and for not moving fast enough to upgrade its computer system.
FBI Assistant Director John Raucci of the Human Resources division said the federal law enforcement agency is seeking to bring more people on board with skills in critical areas, especially language fluency and computer science.
“We’re also looking for professionals in a wide variety of fields who have a deep desire to help protect our nation from terrorists, spies, and others who wish us harm,” Raucci said.
He said the FBI, which has been investigating corporate wrongdoing in connection with the current financial crisis, also needs finance and accounting experts, along with those skilled in physical surveillance and various other employees.
The hiring initiative for FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., and for its field offices would replace departed staff and add some employees, officials said.
A&E has announced that it has ordered Paranormal Cops, a new reality series about a group of police officers who also apply their investigative training to paranormal cases.
The show is tentatively scheduled to premiere sometime later this year, according to the network.
Similar to Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, the plumbers-by-day/ghost-hunters-at-night stars of the Sci Fi Channel’s hit Ghost Hunters reality series, Paranormal Cops will feature a group of Chicago-area residents who work as real-life police officers during the day but apply their forensic and investigative training to investigate paranormal cases at night.
“Paranormal Cops is the perfect marriage of A&E’s successful crime and justice genre with our blossoming paranormal programming that documents real-life accounts of bona fide paranormal investigators,” said Robert Sharenow, senior vice president of nonfiction and alternative programming for A&E.
While many of the group’s investigations come from people who have contacted them after feeling victimized by inexplicable events that have taken place in their homes or workplaces, the police officers also take some cases from their day jobs when called upon, according to the network.
In addition to Paranormal Cops, A&E also announced that it will premiere the third season of Paranormal State, which follows the activities of Penn State University’s Paranormal Research Society, a group of students who conduct paranormal research as part of their college studies, on Monday, January 19 at 10PM ET/PT.
Paranormal Cops is produced by North South Productions for A&E, with Charlie Debevoise and Mark Hickman serving as the show’s executive producers for North South and Sharenow and Elaine Frontain Bryant serving as executive producers for A&E.
Who would be STUPID enough to steal a K9 dog?
A stolen K-9 valued at several thousand dollars has been returned to its owner.
Corpus Christi Police arrested 44 year old Nora Ojeda. She’s accused of DWI and dog Theft. Officers say at Kostoryz near Saratoga they saw Ojeda get out of her car with a dog and then leave it behind.
When officers later pulled her over, they say they were able to connect her to the missing dog case. It originated on the 1100 block of Vance, where the victim, Ojeda’s ex-boyfriend, reported someone stole his specialized assisting dog.
Other officers recovered the dog and returned it to him while Ojeda was booked into the CDC.
The Redlands, Calif., Police Department welcomed a new member to its Canine Unit – a 1-year-old black Labrador Retriever mix named Radar who will work as a drug-sniffing dog.
The department’s canine program received a $5,000 donation from Stater Bros. Markets and Milk-Bone for the purchase of a new police dog. In addition, Stater Bros. contributed another $2,500 for the ongoing training of the K9 officer.
The contributions support law enforcement and security preparedness in Redlands and were made possible through the partnership between Stater Bros., Del Monte Pet Products, and Milk-Bone.
Redlands Police Officer Dan Figgins will work alongside the dog as his handler. Redlands Police narcotics officers also will work with the dog and make his services available to other local agencies.
The unit will be part of the Inland Empire K9 Handlers Association, which also donated to the canine unit, according to the city of Redlands.
When retirement came for K9 officer Sabre, a 5-year veteran on the Temple Terrace police force, he wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. The German Shepherd latched onto his “Kong” chew toy almost as a security blanket.
And anytime a fellow police officer pulled up to Sabre’s house, he would do his best to get into the cruiser.
“He definitely missed work something fierce,” said Sabre’s handler and fellow K9 officer Ken Stanton.
Now, he’s a bit more calm, hanging out in the lanai – pacing when someone new is in the house.
“He’s kind of relaxed now,” Officer Stanton said, and spends time lounging with the Stanton family in the house.
“He’s become a dog of leisure,” the retired officer said.
But Sabre can’t quite shake his police training. When in the house, Sabre is on patrol, checking out every noise that seems out of place, tracking it down until he’s figured out what it is.
While out on walks, Sabre remains vigilant for possible threats against Stanton, placing himself between the officer and any other person or dog they pass.
“He’s very protective over me,” Stanton said of his canine companion.
Both Stanton and Sabre underwent hundreds of hours training to become K9 officers, starting in early 2004, spending four months together repeating the same lessons time and time again. It took 450 hours to train Sabre to earn Narcotics Detection and Police Utility accreditation.
While on the force, Sabre and Stanton made numerous arrests, including one where they helped catch a suspect who was wanted on a warrant but was known to flee when the police came calling.
Stanton recalled one such incident while assisting the department’s special enforcement unit.
Officers requested the K9 unit because they knew the suspect they were trying to serve a warrant on would run.
Stanton and Sabre took their position 10 yards from the garage, located under the second-story apartment the suspect was known to stay in. Three or four seconds after police announced their presence at the apartment’s front door, the garage door began to open and the suspect emerged, poised for flight.
Officer Stanton called out to the man, telling him that if he ran, Sabre would come after him.
“You could see him think about it for a few seconds,” Stanton said.
The man ran – Sabre pursued.
The K9 lunged for the suspect just as the suspect broke left.
The suspect then climbed on top of a car, trapped as Sabre began circling.
Stanton was able to pull the man off the car, but he struggled.
Sabre engaged, latching onto the right rear, upper leg of the suspect.
Stanton asked the suspect why he fled, knowing that the dog would chase him. He replied that he was facing five years in prison so he had nothing to lose.
While Stanton recounted the incident, he referred to Sabre as “the dog,” instead of by his name. He explained that while on the job, that is what Sabre is, “a dog,” a tool of law enforcement.
To think of him as anything other than a tool while working could jeopardize everyone – the officer, the K9 and those working around them.
“You want your police dog to save you,” Stanton said, not the other way around. “That will get you into trouble.”
Sabre retired in late 2008 when Stanton decided that after 21 years in law enforcement, he was ready to try something new.
Now, Sabre tags along on fishing trips, throwing the caught bass overboard as directed by Stanton’s wife, Officer Patricia Stanton, who also works for the Temple Terrace Police Department.
Stanton was allowed to keep Sabre when he retired because he and Sabre were partnered more than two years ago.
He explained that it can take two to three years to fully bond with a canine, and such a bond is difficult to establish with a new handler after it was already forged with the former one.
The Temple Terrace Police Department is finalizing the purchase of another K9, according to Police Chief Ken Albano.
Officer Mike Desmarais has been transferred within the department to become a K9 officer and will be handling the new recruit.
He joins Officer Dale Kelley, who is fellow K9 unit Rocky’s handler.
Chief Albano said that the department wants to have at least two K9 units, though he would prefer to have four – if he had a bottomless pot of gold to pay for it.
“Everyone wants a dog available,” the chief said of his officers. “K9 is a tremendous tool.”