Monty to Hire 4 to 6 New Police Officers — Hopes to Build a More Diverse Squad
By Barbara A. Preston l October 11, 2021
Montgomery Police Director James Gill told township committee at a recent meeting that the police department staff is down about 15 percent.
“It’s been a very difficult time in law enforcement over the past year," Gill said. "NJ State police traditionally have like 20,000 applicants. And, they only had 2,000 applicants recently — only 10 percent of what they normally have."
New Jersey is not alone. Amid growing calls for police reform, a pandemic, and a national debate over the deadly use of force, police departments across the USA are struggling to retain and attract officers, according to a recent article in US News and World Reports.
Keeping good officers, recruiting new ones, and increasing diversity appears to be a challenge, even with a starting salary of $55,873.64 and a top salary of $133,505.12 in 2024 in a thriving, low-crime community such as Montgomery Township.
“We are looking to hire four to potentially six, new officers within the next six months,” Gill said.
“We know that we do not represent our community well in terms of diversity,” Gill said. “It is an issue in law enforcement nationwide. It’s not just a Montgomery Township issue. We are going to do everything we can to take the steps to try to represent our community.”
Montgomery Committee Member Neena Singh had commented that the Montgomery community is becoming more diverse, and asked Gill how the Montgomery police encourage diversity in hiring.
Gill explained that Montgomery uses the app because the app reaches out to special interest groups to “let everybody know we are hiring.”
“Years ago, when I was hired, the only thing we were obligated to do was to include a 50-word ad in a newspaper in the classifieds," Gill said. “Now, with social media, our union will post, I’m sure, on their Facebook Page, and we will put it out to as many special interest groups as we can.”
The department will also reach out to Raritan Valley College and other schools.
College credits dropped as requirement to become a Montgomery police officer
The Montgomery Police Department is changing requirements to make it easier to become a police officer. This should expand the applicant pool, and help to recruit officers from a more diverse background, Gill said.
“We are changing the minimum college requirement, which is currently 60 college credits, to say — 60 college credits or PTC, which is Police Training Commission certification. This does a few things.
“When I was hired,” Gill said. “It was a bachelor’s degree that was required. And then, because of the applicant pool being so slim, it was lowered to 60 college credits. And now, if you don’t have the 60 credits, but you do have the Police Training Commission (PTC) certification, it is deemed to be acceptable.”
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Gill says this will expand the applicant pool. However, it is the hiring process that will select the new officers. The process is what’s important.
“We are expanding the applicant pool, but it doesn’t mean we are going to hire a lessor applicant,” he said, noting that “we have to expand our applicant pool.”
Committeeman Kent Huang asked about a state statute that states a police department cannot hire anyone under 21, or over 35.
Gill responded that there is an issue with anyone under that age of 21 purchasing ammunition.
“Why would we hire an officer who would not be able to ready himself?” Gill asked. “There is also a maturity that we look for” that candidates over age 21 demonstrate.
Accepting a PTC certification, it will also eliminate the need for Montgomery Township taxpayers to have to “pay a new officer while he is in the police academy training,” Gill added.
The New Jersey Police Training Commission (“PTC”) runs PTC certification programs at Mercer and Raritan Valley community colleges.
MONTGOMERY POLICE DEPARTMENT IS NOW ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS FOR POLICE OFFICERS
The primary objectives of the Montgomery Township Police Department are to ensure the safety of all citizens and their property, and provide services to the community through contingent tasks, education, guidance and help for those in need. It is important that all citizens be safe in their homes and businesses and that they feel free to live, work, drive and play without fear. We will provide all services with courtesy, respect and integrity.
ABOUT MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP POLICE DEPARTMENT
The Montgomery Township Police Department is progressive in keeping up with current practices and trends
The Police Department’s Command staff is committed in supporting continued training and career development
The Montgomery Township Police Department currently is comprised of 35 sworn officers
The Montgomery Township Police Department currently works a 12-hour Pitman schedule for patrol officers
The starting salary for a police officer is $55,873.64 with a top salary of $133,505.12 in 2024
Police Officers may participate in a 457b deferred savings account with matching Township contribution
Social Security benefits
Wellness Benefit ($500 per year for documentation of an annual physical)
Uniforms and all Equipment provided as well as uniform laundering
Police Officers may accrue up to 240 hours of Comp-Time
Private Duty Job opportunities @ $85.00 / hour
Health, Dental, and Life Insurance Benefits available or a cash value if opting out
Benefit time for new police officers: 136 hours of Vacation, 96 hours of Sick, 16 hours Personal
Cafeteria Plan – Township reimbursement of a $1000.00 annually for qualifying medical expenditures
Must be at least 21 years of age and must not have reached their 35th birthday by the time of appointment in accordance with the policy and rules of the NJPFRS Pension Board.
Must meet qualifications outlined in N.J.S.A. 40A: 14-122 and elsewhere in N.J.S.A. 40A:14.
Must be a resident of New Jersey at the time of appointment.
Must possess 60 college credits prior to appointment or an NJPTC Basic Course for Police Officers Certification.
Must be capable of performing essential job functions as set forth in the Essential Duties & Physical Requirements document with or without accommodation.
Must pass a physical assessment which will be administered by the Montgomery Township Police Department.
Must participate in oral interviews with members of the Montgomery Township Police Department.
If a conditional offer of employment is extended, must undergo and pass a thorough psychological and medical examination.
If a conditional offer of employment is extended, must submit to an intensive background investigation.
Direct questions regarding this position to email@example.com. ■
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