Mountain View Voice

News - August 16, 2013

No easy journey to become MV cop

Looking to hire, MVPD opens headquarters to police hopefuls

by Nick Veronin

Close to 50 would-be police officers showed up to the Mountain View Police Department's open house recruitment event last weekend — taking notes on what the organization is looking for in new hires and talking with force veterans about the department's culture.

The group of 47 hopefuls gathered at the station on Saturday, Aug. 10, to get a better sense of what to expect along the road to recruitment — which will certainly be a long one.

The police department recently announced plans to hire somewhere between three to five new officers by late 2013 or early 2014. The job posting inspired a flood of applicants — around 400 in total.

Choosing a handful of new officers from a pack of 400 is no small task, especially considering the rigors of the application process. The open house was held in part to help expedite that process — by giving candidates a chance to find out exactly what the department wants from them, and by giving police officials a chance to get to know the prospective recruits.

"These are the things that are going to separate you from the rest of the applicants," Sgt. Dan Vicencio told the group of hopefuls gathered at headquarters before outlining exactly what the men and women could expect over the next several months.

First up: plenty of paperwork. Those deemed qualified will have to then pass a series of oral interviews — first before a board composed of two police officials and a city official, then with Chief Scott Vermeer.

Patrick Ycaro came from Milpitas hoping to make an impression. He said that if one thing made him nervous it was the idea of the oral board interview. But, he added, "I would love to be a cop here. ... Everybody seems to be engaged in the community."

A successful candidate, according to Vicencio, "is someone who is confident, who comes in here with some knowledge about the city, some knowledge about the department, hopefully with a little bit of experience. Those are the kinds of things we're looking for. Education is obviously an aspect."

The process is tough, but Victoria Enos, one of the applicants at the open house, said she didn't mind.

"It's worth it," Enos, who lives in southern Santa Clara County, said. "It's my dream job."

Enos said she comes from a law enforcement family and it has long been her goal to work for a police department. While she is applying to other forces around the Bay Area, she said she has heard nothing but good things about the MVPD.

She said she hoped coming to the open house event showed the officials there that she was serious about the job, and it's likely that she did. Simply showing up and making a good impression is a good first step, Vicencio told the Voice. "It's good for them. This is a critical step in getting to know the agency and the city."

If the chief gives the go-ahead, the candidate will be given a "conditional" job offer, with the condition being that he or she will have to pass a polygraph test, followed by a "very extensive" background check conducted by a police investigator.

If all of those hurdles are passed, the next step is a physical and psychological evaluation. If that goes well, then, and only then, will a candidate be offered a job.

If that candidate has been through a police academy already, he or she may begin working on the force. If not, the recruit will have to go through the South Bay Regional Public Safety Training Consortium, which begins in February of 2014.

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