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Recruits are the cream of the cop

Jackson Bell

It takes a model citizen to fill the shoes of a Burbank Police

officer.

“We expect a well-rounded person that has pretty much been

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trouble-free while growing up as young adult,” said Burbank Police

Det. Carl Costanzo, who oversees recruitment for the department’s

Community Outreach and Personnel Standards bureau. "[We’re looking

for] someone who shows responsibility in financial decision and

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driving habits. A person who has good morals and values.”

The recruitment process, which can take anywhere from six to eight

months to complete, is a competitive one.

Costanzo said fewer than 5% of candidates who begin the process

are offered jobs because of competitiveness -- as many as 80 people

will vie for as few as two openings -- and the department’s high

standards.

“If they come in and say, ‘I’ve have [speeding ticket] problems in

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the last year,’ or if they have huge financial debt or outright

violated drug policy, we won’t look at them,” he said.

Candidates must pass a written civil service exam, a physical

agility test and an interview from a three-panel board. Orientation,

the next phase of the selection process, consists of candidates

filling out reams of paperwork, undergoing a thorough background

check and passing a lie-detector test.

"[The orientation process] is an in-depth investigation to find

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out what they have been doing for past 10 years,” Costanzo said. “We

talk to former employers, neighbors, and people they have dated or

are married to. We will also travel out of state if we need to.”

Officer Ian Goyanes, 29, who was hired in August, was surprised at

how deeply the department dug into his past. He said traffic tickets

he was issued years ago were uncovered, and acquaintances he hadn’t

spoken to since high school were interviewed.

“The whole background check was difficult because they get into

things I’d forgotten about,” Goyanes said.

The chief and deputy chief, who make the final selection,

interview the few who make it through orientation. Those who are

picked attend the Rio Hondo Police Academy in Whittier before joining

the force.

“Our standards have always been a notch above everybody else,”

Costanzo said.

Although the department, which employs 165 officers, isn’t

presently hiring, candidates are welcome to apply.

Those interested in becoming a police officer can call the

department’s recruitment hotline number at 238-3100.


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