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Police Cadets

The AAPD tries a new approach to hiring.

by James Leonard

From the March, 2020 issue

"Now everybody's hiring, and you can't find enough people," then-Ann Arbor police chief Bob Pfannes said in an interview before his retirement last spring. "It's a nationwide problem."

That's why he launched the AAPD's new police cadet program. "We were brainstorming ideas on how to increase the breadth of our outreach and the impediments faced in recruiting," recalls Pfannes in a recent email. "Variations of the Cadet model have been used in the profession before and we thought it may have an application for this purpose."

Pfannes writes that city council and the administration were "enthusiastic" and the idea was also "well received" within the department. Council authorized hiring three cadets last year. "The Department held a cadet orientation session to allow potential applicants to learn more about the position," emails deputy chief Jason Forsberg. "Additionally, we work cooperatively with City Human Resources personnel to actively recruit candidates at a variety of collegiate job fairs. The position was also posted online on the City's website and a variety of law enforcement specific job boards."

That wide net yielded 112 applicants, and the first three cadets were hired last July. As "police service specialist cadets," they've been working the front desk, answering phones, and taking reports. The goal, Pfannes writes, is to give them "genuine exposure to the profession to see if it is a good fit for them and to gain foundational experience. [It also gives] the department exposure to the cadet to help determine if they have the skills and aptitude to succeed."

The jobs pay $18 an hour, but there's a big bonus: satisfactory completion comes with financial support to attend an approved police academy this summer: $5,500 in tuition assistance, plus $400 for uniforms, $300 for books, and $800 for the application process. If all goes well, this year's cadets will go to school this summer, then be eligible to return to the department as licensed police officers.

Two more cadets have already been hired. They'll start before the current cadets leave in May.     (end of article)


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