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Law enforcement aggressively recruiting

January 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
As the economy worsens, jobs in law enforcement are looking more attractive and there are openings waiting to be filled, including several thousand at the FBI. Every month about 800 people come through the Los Angeles Police Department personnel department, putting in their applications for police officer positions.

LAPD wants even more, and so do other law enforcement agencies. Right now they are taking every advantage of the current economic downturn to try to attract the most qualified candidates possible.

At a downtown job fair, many unemployed victims of a soured economy were in attendance.

"I was office manager, and I did clerical work, receptionist work," said job seeker Danica Murphy.

Murphy was laid off from a mortgage company. She's found nothing comparable, but there are agencies that are looking for educated candidates ready for a challenge.

Law enforcement agencies are aggressively recruiting through Web sites, luring candidates with benefits and solid salaries. The range for a first-year LAPD officer is $56,000 to $75,000.

"This year we're looking to hire 780 officers for the fiscal year," said Capt. Joe Mariani, LAPD Recruitment. "We're a little bit over halfway through -- we're currently at 490. We've been putting a class in the academy every 28 days, a class of 60."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has vacancies too.

"We are actually trying to hit 2,100 support employees this year and about 850 special agents, so it's a big hiring year for us," said Salvador Hernandez, assistant director, FBI.

The demand comes as hundreds of thousands of federal employees are retiring.

Part of the recruitment, a call for diversity, for people who speak a second language. The L.A. County Sheriff's Department is aiming for women. At the U.S. Border Patrol, a college degree is not necessary. Be warned though: All peace-officer candidates must pass a background check.

"Each candidate submits to a polygraph examination, we do a complete credit and criminal records check, there's drug testing that takes place beforehand," said Hernandez. "Every candidate has to at least have a college degree on the agent's side."

"But if you have a felony conviction, if you have issues with narcotic use, you know, those are things that can impair and keep you from holding this position," said Capt. Mariani.

And here's one more sign of how aggressively the LAPD is looking for qualified candidates: They're offering $1,000 to any city employee, active or retired, who can recommend a candidate who will make it all the way through the selection process.


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