From now until the end of the year, the Gaithersburg Police Department will be accepting applications for the position of police officer. Both entry level officers or those that have previous experience may apply.
How many applications the department receives depends on how long the position is advertised for, said Lt. Chris Vance. “This one is open for 30 days (Dec. 1-31) so we are expecting a couple hundred at least. Right now, already within the first week, we are over 100 applications.”
Openings are announced on an as-needed basis. On average, they accept applications once or twice a year.
For entry level candidates, the process from filling out the initial application to beginning the police academy is long, around six months, and only a small percentage make it that far.
To start, applicants fill out an online application, which includes asking about minimum standards of employment such as being a United States citizen, having a valid driver’s license with a good overall driving record, not being convicted of a felony and earning a high school diploma either through school or a equivalency exam.
“Once they pass that initial phase, we send them a confidential questionnaire, which is a very thorough 42-page document on basically your whole history” including education and work history, Vance said. “This is foundation for our background investigation.”
The information is reviewed and once a candidate passes this section, they will be invited to a physical and written test being held on Jan. 23 and 24. The physical test includes running a mile and a half, sprints, push-ups, sit-ups and vertical jumps. “If they score high enough on those tests, they will move to the next round, which is a structured interview,” Vance said. A board of three officers will be asking each candidate the exact same questions.
Background checks are the next step in the process. “The background phase is where we typically lose most of our applicants that pass everything else at that point,” he said. “It’s a four- to six-month investigation. It’s a very thorough investigation and it looks at everything in that person’s history to try to make sure we get the best applicants that have the highest integrity.”
Since GPD does not put on their own training academy, candidates that are selected will go to one in the area that offers several months of training.
Those who are already Maryland Police and Corrections Training Commission certified will have a minimum of five weeks of field training with the department. Upon completion of the academy, entry level officers will have a minimum of 16 weeks of field training.
The starting salary is $55,139 for entry level officers. For those with prior experience, the salary ranges from $55,139 to $63,768.
Throughout the year, the department participates in career fairs at many area colleges. “We also advertise for internships for college students and that’s another way to get people into the door to learn what we are about, what we do on a daily basis and we get an opportunity to see them on a firsthand basis so we get to know what they do and what they are about,” Vance said.
For more information, go to the city’s website at www.gaithersburgmd.gov under the public safety section of the services tab. Questions may be sent to GPDRecruitment@gaithersburgmd.gov.