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Thin blue line gets new sliding scale

Ryan Carter

Faced with a recent spate of departures by police brass and the

looming retirements of other high-ranking officers, the Burbank

Police Department will loosen up certain job specifications for the


positions of sergeant, lieutenant and captain.

The City Council this week approved changes to the minimum

qualifications for each classification, a change police officials

hope will make it easier for lateral transfers to be promoted.


Traditionally, officers seeking to become sergeants, lieutenants or

captains had to have five, seven and 10 years, respectively, of paid

full-time experience with the department.

With the changes to become a sergeant, an applicant must have five

years of full-time experience as a sworn officer, but only three

years as a full-time sworn officer in Burbank. Applicants for

lieutenant have to serve five of their seven years as an officer in

Burbank. To become a captain, eight of the 10 years of full-time


experience required have to come with the Burbank department.

Earlier this month, the Civil Service Board approved the

revisions, and on Tuesday the City Council voted 4-0 to adopt them.

Councilman Todd Campbell did not attend the meeting.

Police officials stress that the move will not lessen the skills

needed to rise through the ranks. What it will do, they say, is make

it less restrictive for a growing generation of officers transferring

from other police departments to be promoted.


“Now that we have so many laterals, it has become necessary to get

them in the process earlier and give them credit for the time served

elsewhere,” Burbank Police Capt. Larry Koch said.

Capt. Gordon Bowers said the revisions might even enhance the

experience at each of the positions. One former Los Angeles Police

officer who now works for Burbank’s police department brought 20

years of experience with him. Because of the revisions, that kind of

experience could help an officer be considered sooner for a

promotion, Bowers said.

The revisions also help prepare the department for impending

departures of longtime brass.

Both Bowers and Koch are on track to retire within the next two

years, and Capt. Ed Skvarna recently retired.