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Hiring officers from other communities eyed

City explores 'lateral transfers'

WORCESTER- Police officials are studying the feasibility of hiring police officers from other communities in the state as a way to maintain a consistent manpower level in their department.

Police Chief Gary J. Gemme said the strategy, known as "lateral transfers," would only be used to fill a small number of vacancies that might arise during the course of a year.

Instead of waiting several months for more vacancies to develop so a police recruit class can be started, Chief Gemme said, using lateral transfers would enable his department to fill those openings in a much more timely manner and avoid wild fluctuations in manpower levels.

He said it is important for the Police Department to maintain a consistent manpower level so it can effectively implement its community policing strategies. He said community policing loses its effectiveness when many vacancies exist in the Police Department for a prolonged time.

Traditionally, the city hires recruit classes - candidates taken from the state Civil Service list - to fill vacancies in the Police Department. But because of the cost involved in training new police officers, the city usually waits for 15 or more openings before assembling a recruit class.

And because training takes several months, additional vacancies often occur by the time the recruit class graduates. Another problem with recruit classes is that they are subject to the availability of funding.

"(Lateral transfers) is a way for us to maintain a consistent manpower level in the short term," Chief Gemme told the City Council Public Safety Committee last night. "We're not looking at using this strategy for mass hirings. We would still use recruit classes for that purpose. But if the need arises to fill two or three openings, lateral transfers would allow us to fill those vacancies in a timely fashion.

"We want to be able to avoid the fluctuations in manpower we often experience between recruit classes," the chief added. "By being able to maintain consistent numbers in our department, it will give us greater flexibility to implement our programs."

Councilor-at-Large Joseph M. Petty, chairman of the Public Safety Committee, and District 4 Councilor Barbara G. Haller said they support the chief's strategy. They agreed that proper staffing is necessary for community policing to work.

Recently, the chief said the department has about 30 vacancies, with all but three funded in this year's municipal budget.

The city had planned to put on a 27-member recruit class this fall, but the class has been delayed a couple of months because of an administrative snafu that cropped up with the Civil Service list used by the city to hire the last class of recruits.

Instead of being able to hire recruits off the current Civil Service list, which expires Oct. 31, it has to use the new list that takes effect Nov. 1. As a result, the next recruit class is not expected to graduate until June instead of April as originally planned.

At that time, the Police Department will have roughly 382 police officers, the staffing level police officials believe is needed to implement all community policing initiatives.

Chief Gemme said one major advantage of using lateral transfers is that the candidates are already trained as police officers. He said a considerably shorter period is needed to train them on the policies and regulations of the Worcester Police Department.

The chief added that when considering candidates for lateral transfers, the Police Department will also be able to review their records as police officers in the communities they served.

"We will be able to see what types of individuals and police officers we would be getting," Chief Gemme said.
 

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Deuce , what is the word around the department on this. I think in the long run this would be a bad thing for the department.
 

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Whats so bad about it, its a good idea. More of the larger p.ds that dont take laterals are just wasting money training recruits. Besides p.ds have been doing laterals for years, what is the big deal if Worcester starts.
 

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I say that because Worcester like many other Large departments which hold their own academy such as MSP have a culture all their own. These Departments have a way of life with in their ranks which is instilled into the recruits from day one and carries over to how the conduct themselves on the job. I have seen both sides of this, Departments which hire their recruits brand new and those that take Laterals. I fell the sense of pride and brotherhood is stronger in the Departments which hire the new recruits.

Worcester in the past has taken people from other academies and they have turned out to be fine Officers for the Department, But it has sometimes been a rough fitting in when you are an outsider who has not gone through the Worcester academy when 99.9% of the Department has.

Also, I am not saying that Officers who are trained by other academies are not as good but one must admit that depending on which academy they attend the standards are different. It is unarguable that the Worcester academy is tougher (which is needed in a city like Worcester) than other academies in the state.
 

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Well said sinker. And as far as the word around the dept about this, reading it in the paper (brought to my attention by my wife) was the first we've heard anything about it. This is the typical bullshit though from our "leaders".

Laterals, in very few numbers, are a good stop gap. Take half a dozen at most to fill an immediate need. But they would still need additional training to be brought up to our standards. I'm not saying we're the shit but.. I've worked with laterals. It's a crap shoot. Last academy we took several laterals. Not impressed with any of their prior training and experience. We also said bye bye to all potential laterals from a large western urban dept... And sinker is right about recruits as apposed to laterals. Academy training instills Esprit de Corps... But then again a few academies back we got a lateral from a nearby town that was/is high speed and fits right in with us...
 

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Why not ask the 27 hopefuls on the new list who spent their time and $$ to have a chance at becoming a cop the right way?
:sh:
A lateral here, or a lateral there maybe. But now the City is being told that civil service is to blame cuz the new recruit class (Nov 1st list) couldn't graduate for a couple of months later than a class from the old list. So what? Suck it up. You're looking at 27-30 fresh new hires already in the budget. Why suck manpower away from other municipalities as some "stop-gap" measure.
 

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I think the management in Worcester is smart to take laterals. If they take 30 laterals they will save approximately $35,000X30= $1 million dollars and these people can start in as little as a couple of weeks. All they have to do is look over procedures and rules,regs, firearms qualifications and start the FTO program. You do know what you get, these guys and gals are already proven in their departments. A good background check can reveal the top candidate. A recruit class has dropouts and you never know what you are going to get. As far as other departments losing people, tough. Offer them a better package to stay. I like to see more departments offering laterals so the management in those towns that lose people will wake up and start offering them comparable benefits and salaries. The real problem from the WPD union 's point of view is that WPD runs their own academy whith their own people(overtime and a nice M-F day schedule).
 

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Deuce said:
But they would still need additional training to be brought up to our standards.
Interesting. There are some excellent officers on area depts that have good training in addition to the MPTC academy.
 

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Deuce do you work for Worcester, your depts has been taking laterals already, or am I confused and you work for another P.D.

Well said popo

As for the 27 hopefuls, sorry Scotty I usually agree with ya on most topics but I gotta disagree on this one. I dont understand what the "right way" means. I say take the laterals to fill spots here and there, I think it will be a good idea.
 

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As to the WPD taking laterals before, they were hired as part of the class being put on at that time, and instead of going through another academy depending on how long ago the person went they were assigned to a unit and went back to the academy during certain blocks of instruction.

But the standards form a MPTC class and a Worcester class are different, Ask those who have attended them and those who have taught them. This is not sat the MPTC guys are less I know many who are great Officers.

Besides if laterals are good for every one as many of you have said then I ask should the MSP who don't care if you completed an MPTC class the day before day one take laterals.

 

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MSP live in their own world. Worcester Academy is no different than Lowell Academy, Agawam,Weymouth & MBTA. They are tough academies but are not residential. An A&B is an A&B and a B&E is a B&E whether it happens in Worcester or a couple of hundred feet over the line in Shrewsbury. Besides you really can shop for the best candidate if taking laterals. For example you can choose only people with a specific numebr of years of experience, college education, specialized training, check their department record, check their academy class rank, grades and at the end of the day, a huge money saving. MSP say they are different and in a way they are. Their training reflects that. You take a domestic call in Worcester ,is the same as Brockton. Like I said before, if WPD did not run their own academy this would not be an issue. People will have to go back to patrol instead of working at the academy and god forbid you might hire a lateral with more training and experience then officers already on the job. My PD does not hire laterals, they used to years ago but I hope they start again as it makes perfect sense.
 

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Macop said:
Deuce do you work for Worcester, your depts has been taking laterals already, or am I confused and you work for another P.D.

Well said popo

As for the 27 hopefuls, sorry Scotty I usually agree with ya on most topics but I gotta disagree on this one. I dont understand what the "right way" means. I say take the laterals to fill spots here and there, I think it will be a good idea.
Come on now, septic tank of the state. I figure that says it all... But yes to your question I do. Laterals are not a common occurence for Worcester, but there has been a few. Yah A&B is an A&B etc.. But I think our academy might be a little more comprehensive than that. A couple instructors train other academies and our Con. Law instructor (retired now) wrote the book.. As far as keeping a Training Division around so guys can work Mon-Fri and that's why we want our own acadamy, that's damn funny.. I'm sure you weren't so high on taking laterals when you were trying to get on popo...
 

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Deuce said:
Come on now, septic tank of the state. I figure that says it all... But yes to your question I do. Laterals are not a common occurence for Worcester, but there has been a few. Yah A&B is an A&B etc.. But I think our academy might be a little more comprehensive than that. A couple instructors train other academies and our Con. Law instructor (retired now) wrote the book.. As far as keeping a Training Division around so guys can work Mon-Fri and that's why we want our own acadamy, that's damn funny.. I'm sure you weren't so high on taking laterals when you were trying to get on popo...[/QUOT

:dito: I seems that a lot of guys who have been posting forget what it's like to be waiting high on a list and have a department take laterals. Yeah......it makes sense. But......do you guys all forget what it is like to be where most of us are now? Give a new guy a shot.......don't forget where all of you once were and how someone gave you your chance at one point.
 

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Yah Laterals Make Perfect Sense For Those Already Employed. For Worcester Their Academy Is Directly Geared Towards Working In A City Enviroment. Having Thier Own Academy Allows Them To Teach And Train What They Want In Their Officers. On A Side Note I Am Sick Of These Towns Saying Laterals Are The Solution, Bite The Nail And Pay For The Training Instead Of Forcing Other Towns To Do It For You.
 

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YA!

TRAIN EM ALL!!!! Let God sort them out. Laterals is a cool move for a quick fill when the budget is down, but what the hell do I know?
:whistle:
 
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