It’s the third year of the Lincoln City Police Department Citizens Police Academy at Oregon Coast Community College.
“Three of the main reasons we hold these academies are to educate our community on what their local police officers face every day, to build a relationship with our community, and to create ambassadors for the police department,” Police Chief Jerry Palmer said.
On Thursday, Sept. 4, an OCCC classroom filled with eager students from various backgrounds, all with the common interest of learning about what their community police department is all about.
This year’s 11-week academy class consists of 20 students. Police department staff are the instructors, offering one to two topics for discussion each week. During the Sept. 4 session, Palmer introduced the first topic of the class, the police hiring processes.
Palmer said the opportunity to work as a police officer in Lincoln City is unique.
“The opportunity for growth is largely due to the number of people headed toward retirement, and this is ideal for younger officers,” Palmer said.
According to Palmer, the department has some unique challenges such as lack of staff, and lack of housing for new officers.
He said applicants often times bring valuable experience to the force.
“I applied mid-January and I have been here for two weeks,” new LCPD Officer Jim Hoydic said.
Hoydic and his wife recently moved from Florida where he retired from his post as an officer.
“Even though I was already an officer in Florida, it was like I was new,” Hoydic said. “We were tired of the heat and wanted a change of scenery.”
Palmer said the prerequisites to be an officer at the LCPD include: the applicant must be a U.S citizen; must be over the age of 21; have not been convicted; must be of good moral fitness; and must have a high school diploma or GED.
Palmer said prior to 2016, the application process for becoming an officer at the LCPD was insufficient and expensive.
“In 2015 the cost of a written test given to six recruits was a total of $3,275 in advertising, testing materials, and staff time,” Palmer said.
The Lincoln City Police Department now operates on a new network to provide its testing referred to as the FrontLine NTN Exam, which is a video-based human relations test.
The newer application process includes seven phases, such as a written test, a reading comprehension test, an oral board, the Oregon Physical Agility Test, an interview with Chief Palmer, a background check and a credit check.
“After 40 years of this business I have found common sense is not really common,” Palmer said.
Palmer said the FrontLine NTN Exam method uses good judgment and teamwork and does not require candidates to have the experience to do well.
Palmer said a short video clip is shown to the applicants, than they are given multiple best choices of action in a multiple choice format.
During the the second part of the Sept. 4 class, the group discussed police work ethics.
“An officer’s ethics make or break his career,” Palmer said. “Loyalty and integrity issues are where officers often times get on a slippery slope. As we become involved with the dark side of the community we become cynical and lose trust in society.”
Palmer wrapped up the first class ends with words of encouragement to officers and anyone working in law enforcement.
“The most important thing an officer can do, is hang on to a grounded group of people who can help them understand that what they are doing is a worthy and noble,” Palmer said.
The academy classes are conducted Tuesday nights through Nov. 6, and include three optional Saturday classes.
News Guard Reporter Katie Mortimer is attending the Lincoln City Police Citizens Academy and is producing news stories about what she learns inside the classroom. Look for her reports in future editions of The News Guard, and online, at thenewsguard.com.