Hiring standards for police lieutenants widen

Civil Service Commissioners this week changed hiring standards for police lieutenants, including opening the position up to outside candidates.

Among the changes approved unanimously by the commission on Wednesday, police administrators will also now consider candidates who don’t yet have a bachelor’s degree, but who will obtain it within two years of appointment.

New lieutenants must also have half of their degree units — including major coursework in public or business administration, police science or related fields — completed before their probationary period ends.

Police officials said the changes will broaden the pool of candidates for the lieutenant’s position. Currently several lieutenants positions are available due to retirements.

“If we proceed just getting six, seven or eight candidates for this very important management position, we will not be able to sustain the leadership team and we will not be able to do what we need to do in not only the immediate future, but over the course of the next two years,” Glendale Police Chief Ron De Pompa said.

Changes to the police lieutenant qualifications had raised concern among some officers who feared internal candidates would be overlooked if the department began recruiting from other agencies.

The issue was scheduled to be discussed by the Civil Service Commission on Sept. 28, but was pushed back to allow for further discussion among city officials, De Pompa and the Glendale Police Officers Assn.

The union eventually accepted changes.

Glendale police sergeants who apply will also be given priority over outside applicants, thereby establishing separate eligibility lists.

“We are optimistic that this will lead to a great candidate pool from within,” union President Larry Ballesteros said.

Applicants who possess bachelor’s degrees will be given a 5% educational preference credit in the consideration process.

Still, Sgt. Tigran Topadzhikyan told commissioners he was concerned that changes to the position would bring about legal issues. He also argued for a need to maintain high standards for managerial positions.

Two Glendale police sergeants were promoted Wednesday to lieutenant positions. Five other people had applied for the position.

Officials said other Glendale police sergeants who meet the requirements to apply for the position haven’t applied because they aren’t interested.

The majority of police managers are either eligible for retirement, or will be eligible within the next two years, De Pompa said.

“That is the liability we have to plan for,” he said.

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