By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – The police department will stage a recruitment drive to attract potential officer candidates, as retirements and outside job opportunities drive the need for a fresh set of prospects for the force.
“We need to have a recruitment process,” Police Chief Mark Leahy told selectmen May 18.
One officer recently went on disability retirement, Sgt. James Bruce is retiring at the end of July and a third officer is “quite a ways down the path for a federal law enforcement position,” Leahy said. “We need to have things ready to go.”
The town will follow the same process it used two years ago. Candidates will take a written test, with the top 50 invited to take a physical agility test. Personal interviews narrow the field until a panel review that includes a representative of the Board of Selectmen
“I was real happy with the last process,” Leahy said. “It produced some wonderful, well-rounded people that I’m absolutely thrilled to work with every day.”
Leahy also asked the board to consider adding a formal assessment center to the current process for filling promotions at the department, such as the upcoming sergeant’s opening.
Assessment centers put potential law enforcement candidates through several real-life scenarios, with experienced law enforcement professionals observing and grading their ability to react under pressure to a host of situations.
Although the assessment center process can cost as much as $8,000 to $9,000 for each candidate tested, the information can help reveal things that written tests and oral interviews cannot.
“It gives you one more thing to look at,” Leahy said, noting that he was put through such a process when he applied to be chief. “We put a lot of trust in these folks as supervisor and we expect a lot out of them.”
After the board indicated it was open to the idea, as long as the other parts of the screening process were kept in place, Leahy said he would provide additional information to the board for its consideration.