(WTNH) — Police departments across Connecticut are rethinking their hiring techniques. Some of them are becoming more lenient with their requirements.
Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara is with the Connecticut Police Chief’s Association. He says during a time in history where law-enforcement recruiting is already difficult, some Connecticut police departments are looking at changing some of the standards to allow more people to have a chance of becoming a police officer.
“We have to recognize that sometimes society norms are changing, but we also want to be true to the values of each of our communities. We want people who can make proper decisions,” said MacNamara.
MacNamara wants to be sure to point out he does not believe this is lowering police standards. He says the idea is to let people in through the door so that they can look at them as a whole during an interview.
“In the past, tattoos would be a definite disqualifier. Now, we look at tattoos and we say maybe they should not be a disqualifier. And now we have visible tattoos. Certainly what that tattoo reflects might be a disqualifier,” said MacNamara.
Alex Block is studying criminal justice at the University of New Haven and wants to become a police officer or federal law-enforcement agent upon graduation.
“Our lines should change, as times change, lines do need to be moved. But it is really frustrating for me because I have centered my life around meeting those standards and now the standards may or may not change,” said Block.
Block hopes while law-enforcement tries to open the door to more people, they don’t dilute their standards in the process.
“Something I really feel strongly about is keeping our law-enforcement at the highest level. The highest caliber of people,” said Block.
“You can’t commit felonies. Domestic violence is an issue. Driving under the influence becomes a problem for future driving behavior,” said MacNamara. “So, we’re not necessarily lowering our standards, what we’re saying is we welcome people in a holistic approach.”
Different cities have different policies.