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'We just want to accomplish the mission': Warner Robins Police Department makes changes to testing requirements to extend recruitment

This eliminates the timed fitness test, and duplicates written and scenario testing to get POST certified officers from in and out-of-state hired more effectively.

WARNER ROBINS, Ga. — The Warner Robins Police Department is looking to expand their hiring pool. Their target is Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) certified officers who are looking for work. 

At Monday night's council meeting, leaders voted on an ordinance that would waive several tests. It would eliminate the time requirement in the fitness test, and several written and scenario tests required through the assessment center.

This would be applicable to POST certified officers in and out of state. Some leaders say they are setting these new standards now, and it will help in the long run.

Interim Chief Roy Whitehead says changing the requirements doesn't lower the standard. He says taking away the time requirement follows standards of other departments. 

"It's a 2-minute, 6-second timed exercise -- we could have someone do it at 2 minutes and 12 seconds and we wouldn't be able to hire them, but other agencies would because they don't have those same requirements," Whitehead says.

He says because of this, the department was turning away good candidates and there were many options to retake the agility test. 

"It happened relatively frequently, and now, we are changing so that we can offer that agility test more than we used to," says Whitehead. 

The other big change is the waiving of several assessment test requirements. He says many POST certified officers would have to retake written tests, and other scenario based test. This would only prolong the hiring process.

"That's basically a very simplified version of what we do, because they are certified and they've worked in other agencies. It's just not necessary, it's a duplicate step that we don't have to take," says Whitehead.

He says these changes will allow them to extend their recruiting especially to those who are out of state. 

"We're looking for the opportunity to reach out to others because people relocate for different reasons. You could have a family member that's being stationed here at the Air Force base, and then we would have that opportunity to bring them in, if they're certified in another state, and bring them in more quickly," he says. 

Whitehead adds that the goal is to look for every opportunity to make the department more effective and more efficient, and more full. 

They are already seen success this year. They have hired 10 POST certified officers, and have six other recruits in the hiring process. 

"What we did has not made it easier to walk into the door, we have just vetted our process," says Mayor LaRhonda Patrick.

"We just want to accomplish the mission, which is get these officers in, get them certified and get them tested get them streamlined so they can get sworn in and start working for the City of Warner Robins as soon as possible," she adds. 

She says where they lack in bodies they are making up for in other ways. As the 11th largest county in the state, she says they look for innovative ways to maintain safety.

"Sometimes it takes more than just people. You've got to have the technology too, because crimes are looking different they are occurring at different times. were just trying to remain innovative in keeping up with the times and having smart policing as an option for us," she says

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