Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona on August 25, 2010 · Page 57
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Arizona Republic from Phoenix, Arizona · Page 57

Phoenix, Arizona
Issue Date:
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Page 57
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Z1 MIDWEEK AUGUST 25, 2010 fef Ml 3 rookie police officers on job in Surprise PHOTOS BY MARK HENLETHE REPUBLIC Officer Jay Slezak spends time at the shooting range during his first shift. By Lisa Halverstadt The Republic Three new police officers began patrolling Surprise streets last week. College graduates Michael Flavell and Jay Slezak and longtime McDonald's franchise manager Mike Phillips were hired to fill some positions vacated during the recession. Surprise's budget includes funds to hire two more officers and five dispatchers but it's unclear how soon additional candidates could come to work, said Sgt Michael Stewart, who oversees the Police Department's recruitment and hiring. Hiring procedures aren't swift. Candidates must pass physical and written tests. Then, background screenings begin. Stewart and his counterparts at other agencies call friends, family members, neighbors and co-workers to ask about an applicant's personality and background. Would-be officers must undergo a or, of)Kj Rookie Officer Mike Phillips checks his police car after his first shift at the Surprise Police Department. polygraph test and answer in-depth Flavell, Phillips and Slezak were questions about their past. hired because they tested well and im-"It's definitely unlike any other in- pressed police supervisors, Stewart terview or job process out there," Surprise Lt Penny Riherd. See OFFICERS Page 4 Officer Michael Flavell Age: 23. Hometown: Glendale. Background: Graduated from Northern Arizona University after studying criminology and criminal justice. Decided on a law enforcement career in high school. Why he applied: "Basically, I wanted a job where I can make a difference in people's lives." What he likes about Surprise: "I've never run into someone who wasn't ready to help (me)." Career goal: Wants to specialize in narcotics investigations. Officer Mike Phillips Age: 39. Hometown: Grew up in Missouri, now lives in Waddell. Background: Managed a McDonald's franchise with his father for more than 17 years. Earned a business degree from Central Missouri State University. Why he applied: "With my history of customer service, it seemed like a natural progression to go into law enforcement." What he likes about Surprise: Phillips said he enjoys the community aspect of the city, particularly gatherings he can attend with his 6-year-old son. Career goal: Wants to be a detective or provide training to other officers. Officer Jay Slezak Age: 24. Hometown: Grew up in Oregon, lives in Glendale. Background: Graduated from Oregon State University with a degree in sociology with a criminal justice focus. Slezak's father and brother have also worked in law enforcement. Why he applied: "I didn't really choose this. I never wanted to do anything else." What he likes about Surprise: Slezak said he has appreciated assistance and advice from other city employees. Career goal: Wants to become a member of the Police Department's Special Assignments Unit. Police hires in the Phoenix area Some other Valley agencies have hired or planned to hire officers in recent months. Here are a few of them. Avondale: Hired three veteran officers and three rookie officers who graduated from the police academy last month. The agency received a federal Community-Ori ented Policing Services program grant to hire five officers. Chandler: Hired four officers in 2010 and seven in 2009. Mesa: Received federal funds to hire 25 officers but decided to reassign 25 officers due to budget concerns. SaK River Pima: Received federal funds to hire six officers. Tempe: Hired six officers in 2009. Applications are now available for officer positions. Surprise police, by the numbers The Police Department is authorized to have 188 employees. That includes 56 civilians, a chief, three assistant chiefs, six lieutenants, 15 sergeants and 107 officers. The department has 50 civilian staff, one interim chief, two assistant chiefs, six lieutenants, 14 sergeants and 105 officers. Since 2009, Surprise police have hired two veteran officers and four novice officers. Three new officers started patrolling Surprise last week. Police want to hire at least two more officers. There are five open dispatcher positions. Of those who applied for Surprise police officer positions, 265 were invited to take a physical test. Seventy-seven candidates passed and were invited to complete a written test. Of those, police began background investigations on 52 candidates. Thirty-six were disqualified or removed from the process. Thirteen candidates are undergoing background investigations. The base salary for Surprise officers is $52,540.80. Those with up to six years' experience make at least $55,161.60. Officers with more than six years on the job receive at least $58,323.20 annually. Source: Surprise Police Department,

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