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PSI takes lead in streamlining employment exams for police candidates

Friday, March 14, 2014

Thanks to a new initiative from the Public Safety Institute and the Municipal Police Training Academy at Mercyhurst North East, police candidates will have a more streamlined – and more affordable – path to secure employment in their field.

Starting this summer, the Public Safety Institute will launch the Northwest Pennsylvania Regional Police Testing Consortium (NWPAR), a regional police candidate test to establish a master list of qualified candidates available to all participating law enforcement and corrections agencies in the region.

Prior to this initiative, an individual seeking police employment would be required to take a written and physical assessment at each department in which they sought employment. With the many police departments in region – each with its own testing fee – the investment of time and money would add up quickly for job-seekers and departments alike.

Now, eligible police candidates will take just one test. Public Safety Institute staff will distribute the eligibility list of those candidates who passed the test to participating departments. It is then up to the individual departments to interview and perform a background investigation on the candidates they wish to hire.

It’s not a new concept – many counties across Pennsylvania have made the change to holding one test. Given the benefits of a standardized test, that’s not surprising: Police departments will no longer need to purchase applications, testing materials or publish ads for employment; nor will they have to allocate time, facilities and manpower to administer the test. A standardized test will be especially beneficial for smaller departments with fewer resources. Furthermore, there’s always a risk of personal injury when administering a physical exam, and a standardized test removes that liability from individual employers.

“The benefits to this standardized test are huge for departments and applicants alike,” said Bill Hale, director of the Municipal Police Training Academy. “We are thrilled to be launching this initiative through the Public Safety Institute at Mercyhurst, which continues to stand as the regional leader for public safety training and education.”

For more information, contact the Mercyhurst Municipal Police Training Academy at 814-725-6121.