Here is a story about a dep't looking for officers. Not that unusual (in Alabama at least), what is unusual is they are willing to take uncertified officers and send them to school.

Policemen, firemen needed


BY VICTOR INGE
Saturday, January 20, 2007 6:26 PM CST



THE SELMA TIMES-JOURNAL

The city of Selma has 18 vacancies between the Police Department and Fire Department, but applicants just looking for a job need not apply.

"We're looking for people who want a career in law enforcement, not just a job. Law enforcement is a career choice," said Selma Police Chief Jimmy Martin.

Valeria Jones, Selma personnel director, is placing ads and spreading the word via the media in hopes of attracting viable candidates.


The starting salaries for both police and firefighters has recently increased, as Selma has to compete with larger cities that are offering incentives such as college tuition to attract and retain good people.

"Normally, we have quite a few applicants, but some find it difficult to pass the physical agility test," Jones said. "For us to be competitive, we've raised our starting salaries."

Starting annual salary of SPD officers is $26,841, and the starting annual salary for firefighters is $24,286, Jones said.

The SPD has nine vacancies and the SFD has nine openings, however, city officials maintain Selma has adequate police and fire coverage.

Fire Department Chief Henry Allen agreed with Martin, adding they were looking for applicants with good work ethics and "with good character."

"This is a very hazardous job," said Allen, who has been a firefighter for 36 years and the past 13 as chief. "We've been hiring people that when they go to their first fire they find out this isn't what they thought it was."

The SFD currently have 63 firefighters.

Though the SFD is nine short of its optimum staffing level, Allen says the city is in no danger of inadequate protection.

Retention has been a problem for both departments, which can be attributed in part to the starting salary that is slightly lower than the state average of more than $27,000 a year.

Selma police and firefighters work overtime to cover the shortages, which Allen said they don't mind.

"We've lost fire fighters to the railroads, to Alagasco, and to other (fire) departments in Prattville and Mobile," Allen said. "We're not the only cities feeling this. It's from Demopolis to Montgomery, south to the Florida line. The demand has increased, the salaries have not."

The City of Selma Human Resources Department will host two separate preparation and orientation courses for interested persons considering careers in either.

The purpose of the class is to acquaint those interested in the hiring and selection process.

Applicants can be certified or entry level.

The Firefighter Class is set for Wednesday, Jan. 24 from 9 to 10:30 a.m.

The Police Officer class is set for Friday, Jan. 26 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Both will be held at the Carl Morgan Convention Center on Washington Street.

To sign up, interested persons can call 874-2110.

Employment applications are accepted Mondays through Fridays at the HR department at City Hall.