The Bloomingtonian

Twenty-nine potential police officers show up for open testing Saturday

August 7, 2021: Potential Bloomington police officers undergo physical testing during the open testing process, August 7, 2021, in Bloomington, Ind. The Bloomington Police Department, and departments across the United States, are experiencing a shortage of officers. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Participants in the Bloomington Police Department’s open testing process gathered at Bloomington High School South and then at the City of Bloomington Public Safety Training Center Saturday morning.

The United States is experiencing a shortage of police officers, and therefore, so is Bloomington.

“We’re constantly playing catch up,” said Bloomington Police Department Capt. Ryan Pedigo, who was on-site with other members of the BPD to help with the open testing process.

The process to become a police officer takes over a year. First potential police officers need to pass a physical test, and a written test, and then the hiring process can take 5-6 months for the formal interviews, background investigations and a truth verification test, approval from the Board of Public Safety, psychological and medical testing and examinations, and then finally acceptance into the Police Retirement Fund, according to Pedigo.

Then training begins for 2-3 weeks before new officers are sent to the police academy for 16 weeks before being sent to field training for another 16 weeks.

This whole process can take 13-14 months.

Saturday potential new police officers were being tested physically, which includes being able to jump a minimum of 16 inches, a minimum of 29 sit-ups in a minute, a 300-meter run that must be completed in less than 71 seconds, the ability to do 25 pushups, and the fitness to run 1.5 miles in less than 16 minutes and 28 seconds.

After the physical fitness test, there was also a written general aptitude test based on the National Police Officer Selection Test.

A probationary officer will earn 50,500-dollars the first year on the job, but other jurisdictions and law enforcement agencies in other parts of Indiana and the United States pay more, and some pay significantly more, to recruit and maintain officers, than the Bloomington Police Department.

There are currently 8 openings for police officers at BPD, according to Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff.

The potential police officers who were tested Saturday would be able to begin work as a solo officer on patrol sometime in the autumn of 2022.

August 7, 2021: Potential Bloomington police officers undergo physical testing during the open testing process, August 7, 2021, in Bloomington, Ind. The Bloomington Police Department, and departments across the United States, are experiencing a shortage of officers. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

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