The Helena-West Helena Civil Service Commission met Tuesday to discuss their agenda that included a hearing for police office Michael Thomas.  Currently no date has been set for that hearing. 

 

The Helena-West Helena Civil Service Commission met Tuesday to discuss their agenda that included a hearing for police office Michael Thomas.  Currently no date has been set for that hearing. 
Commission Chairman Will Tate stated that he had spoken to Mayor James Valley and that it is “more than likely this hearing will not proceed” and that Thomas will likely be reinstated.
However, Tate added that the commission would proceed until something becomes available in writing from the mayor.
Major Ronald Scott of the H-WHPD addressed the commission concerning the process of hiring individuals for the police department.  Scott referred to 6 officers that were interviewed for positions on the force. However, he reported that only two were able to proceed through training.  He said that these individuals were probably in their fifth or sixth week of training and has qualified in their training with pistols.
The commission was interested in how the process would continue and asked Scott to provide them with written documentation about the outcomes. 
“There are still about 4 to 6 slots that still need to be filled but we are confident that we can get these slots filled,” Scott said. 
The commissioners questioned the application and testing process,
“These tests are expensive and we only need to test those who are qualified,” Tate commented. 
Scott explained that with each application that is submitted a background and criminal check is required and “this helps eliminate those who are not eligible.” 
The court questioned the required checks that were given and inquired about the time limit.  Scott reassured the court that each application is required to follow up with a criminal background and a “moral check,” in which family, friends, and references are also checked. 
“The time limit really depends on if the applicant is relocating,” said Scott. “It seems easier to process if they are from the surrounding areas.” 
In order to limit the time spent with each applicant the commissioners agreed that there will be a 10-day window after the initial advertisement is ran in that those applicants who apply during this time period will be tested. 
“This in turn will limit the time and expense,” Scott said.
Each qualified applicant will take classes for 6 to 8 weeks that are offered during the evenings from 3 to 10 p.m.  These individuals are considered part time until hired.  The applicants must continue training until the police department is comfortable with their progress. The recruits are required to ride with their supervisor as long as they have received their part-time certification from their classes. 
Tate reminded the commissioners that their only obligation is to present the police department with qualified eligible applicants. “We have no control over what the police department ultimately decides to do.”
Chris Helms and Mario Crawford are the two new officers hired
The commission will not meet again until Tuesday Jan. 11, 2011.