ABERDEEN – The members of the Township Council in Aberdeen Township have adopted an ordinance that will permit the hiring of certain police officers without an examination requirement.
During a meeting on Oct. 21, Mayor Fred Tagliarini, Deputy Mayor Joseph J. Martucci Sr. and council members Greg Cannon, Concetta B. Kelley, Margaret Montone and Robert L. Swindle voted “yes” on a motion to adopt the ordinance.
Councilman Arthur Hirsch was not present.
No one from the public commented on the ordinance when given the opportunity to do so.
Municipal officials said qualified police officers who are currently employed at law enforcement agencies throughout the state, as well as certain individuals who have received training, but who have not yet worked as a police officer, are now eligible to work for the Aberdeen Township Police Department without having to take a qualifying examination.
This development allows police department administrators to address staffing shortages by expanding their hiring options. Because qualified candidates are exempt from civil service testing, the hiring process will also be shortened.
In an interview with the Independent, Police Chief Matthew Lloyd said he believes the ordinance will create more options and opportunities for the police department.
Lloyd said the police department is not boycotting the civil service examination. Instead, he said, the new ordinance will be used by the police department as a discretionary tool in hiring qualified individuals.
“We are not eliminating the process of hiring off a civil service entry level list. This ordinance is for certified officers only.
“So, if you have an officer who is a (part-time) Class 2 (officer) or who is Police Training Commission certified from another agency, it gives us an option to take that person. Typically, the hiring process is about a year. Sometimes you don’t have a year to wait to get a police officer on the road,” Lloyd said.
The ordinance is the byproduct of new state legislation that allows an examination exemption for qualified officers. The legislation permits any municipal or county police department to hire exempt officers after an ordinance or a resolution has been adopted or passed by a governing body.
According to the legislation, the Civil Service Commission will grant a testing exemption for officers who have either completed a basic course for police officers, attended and passed a training course at an authorized institution, or completed a training program with a federal, state, public or private agency that meets requirements established by the Police Training Commission.
Lloyd stressed that the purpose of the ordinance is to provide more options and more police officers.
“For example, a Class 2 police officer, that is an officer only sworn to that municipality … We can then put out to them that we are interested in taking them on … They already have attended the (police) academy so there is no cost to us to send them to the police academy.
“Then they can come right to us, enter into field training and get right onto the road. So, it gets us an officer in three months vs. an entire year … This just gives us a secondary option to get an officer on the road faster when and if we need that,” the police chief said.