APD’s recruitment process gets streamlined as hiring challenge continues for all agencies

By Jessica Peralta

September 2016 marked the first time Anaheim law enforcement applicants could undergo most of the necessary testing and processing required to officially apply to become an Anaheim police officer all in one shot. The processing time has been cut down by nearly a couple of months to more efficiently help add qualified officers to the force.

“Quality candidates are imperative because it really dictates the future of our organization,” said Sgt. Matt Adrian, who oversees personnel and recruitment for the agency. “Anaheim prides itself on serving the community through teamwork while providing excellent customer service. Treating people right is what is important to our organization and the community we serve. Hiring the best will ensure we continue to deliver these services for years to come.”

Interviewing a recruit candidate during oral panels at Anaheim PD East Station are, from left, civilian Don Williams, APD Cpl. Julissa Trapp, and APD Sgt. Jeff Mundy.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

In a time of nationwide shortages of recruits for law enforcement, APD’s application streamlining efforts become that much more important.

“Everybody’s hurting for officers,” said Adrian.

The typical application process for an entry-level officer involves taking a Post Entry Level Law Enforcement Test Battery (Pellet-B) written exam, as well as undergoing a physical agility test, an oral panel of questioning and a pre-screen background evaluation with investigators. Lateral applicants are not required to take the written test since they’re already officers, but they must undergo the other testing. The old process involved individual testing dates for each applicant for each part of the testing.

Matthew Haynes crawls through the obstacle course during Anaheim PD’s physical agility test.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

The new process involves inviting all those who scored 50 and above on their Pellet-Bs, as well as lateral transfers, for a day of testing in which they could get all the rest completed. The first recruitment cycle, in September, processed around 250 applicants. Since then, 14 officers have been added to the Anaheim police force.

“It’s challenging because there’s a lot of applicants that come through but when you start looking at papers there’s things that disqualify them,” said Adrian.

Anaheim PD Cadet Jake Seiders scans fingerprints of recruit candidates for background checks at the Anaheim PD East Station.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Even though recruitment numbers are down in general, Anaheim is a popular place to work.

“Anaheim’s the varsity team — a lot of people want to come here,” Adrian said. “There’s still a lot of people that want to be police officers … and want to make a positive change in the community.”

But, of course, they still must pass all of the testing.

Kevin Ladjimi drags a 165-pound sandbag man across the dirt during Anaheim PD’s physical agility test.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

“To find the best of the best for Anaheim, our standards are high when it comes to the physical agility and the oral panel,” said Adrian.

The physical agility testing includes a 1 1/2-mile run, an obstacle course, a 440-yard run, a dummy drag and a minute of counted pushups. All sections are timed and there’s very little break between each.

“I’ve been told it’s the hardest they’ve ever done,” said Adrian. “It is very difficult compared to most agencies around us.”

Anaheim PD Investigator Donald Briggs of the Personnel Division, left, talks to a recruit candidate before the recruit goes before the oral panels at the Anaheim PD East Station.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Fortunately, applicants who don’t pass the agility test or oral panel can reapply. Adrian says some have applied three or four times – which in itself is noted as a testament to each individual’s personality and drive.

The next round of recruitment testing took place in January and there will be four every year. Interested applicants can find recruitment information at anaheim.net.

“It’s been a lot of changes since September,” said Adrian. “It’s really making a difference in how quickly we’re able to process people.”

A potential recruit catches his breath after running through the obstacle course during Anaheim PD’s physical agility test.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Sgt. Matt Adrian of the Anaheim Police Department.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Matthew Haynes hops over hurdles during Anaheim PD’s physical agility test.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Anaheim PD Cpl. Julissa Trapp, left, and Sgt. Jeff Mundy interview a recruit candidate during oral panels at the Anaheim PD East Station.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Ricardo Guerrero runs through a timed obstacle course during Anaheim PD’s physical agility test.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Recruit candidates wait their turn to go before the oral panels at the Anaheim PD East Station.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

Ricardo Guerrero runs through a timed obstacle course during Anaheim PD’s physical agility test.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC

John Padilla leaps over a hurdle as part of a timed obstacle course.
Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge OC