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Editorial: Exhaustive search under way for officers

Hastings residents can expect to see a number of changes coming to the police department in the coming year.

It appears possible that four to six new faces could be on the scene over the next 12 to 18 months, and the hiring process for at least two of those people is already under way.

One opening was created when a Hastings officer landed a coveted spot with the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. The second is a budgeted part-time position that could evolve into a full-time position if there is a retirement.

In January, another officer is retiring and pending changes to the pension fund that are upcoming may prompt several officers who are near retirement to leave early.

The public needs to know that the search used to get a new officer here is incredibly exhaustive. The department knows full well how important finding the right person is. If, for example, you go on vacation and someone breaks into your house, you want the most responsible officer possible to walk through your home. When you know someone dealing with a mental health crisis, you'll want to know the officer helping them is patient and respectful. Officers need to be firm and compassionate, daring and diligent, thorough but not harassing.

That balance is difficult to strike, so we were happy to hear this week that 245 people applied for those first two jobs.

From that field, 60 people will get initial interviews. The field, then trimmed to 15 people, will be subjected to more tests and more interviews.

Members of public must know that the process involves officers, HPD leaders, city employees, business owners and fellow residents. There are written tests, report writing tests, personality profiles, multiple interviews, physical tests and thorough background checks.

We commend the department on taking these exhaustive measures to find new officers to serve our community.