Testing by the Jasper Civil Service Board to establish a current register to hire new police officers will take place in early December, and Rowe said she hopes to see a large number of people take part in the exam.
Rowe said when the test was given last October, 40 people tested and only 13 made it to the eligibility roster.
“I would love to see a room full of applicants when the test is given,” she said. “We are looking for quality people who we believe can become quality police officers.”
While working in law enforcement can be demanding, Rowe said the work can also be rewarding.
“In this current economy, good jobs are hard to find,” Rowe said. “Working for a government entity, such as a police department, comes with some benefits that are significant. I first worked with the Jasper Police Department when I was 21. Next June, I will have my retirement made, and I’m only 49. We have paid holiday, insurance and sick days. We are a department headed in the right direction, and I feel we are a department that provides structure and a good work environment.”
Rowe said she feels the Jasper Police Department is still “a work in progress,” but she is excited about the future of the department.
“We continue to identify any problems we may have, and we address them,” she said. “In the past, we’ve had a problem retaining people because of the payscale, but the mayor and city council are attempting to address that situation. We’ve done a lot of things here in the last year, and I think we’ve got some strong selling points, such as our functional and well-trained critical response team.”
One attribute Rowe hopes to find in this new crop of applicants is someone who speaks Spanish.
“I am concerned about our Hispanic population and feel that they are underserved by our department because of communication problems,” Rowe said.
While the police department currently has seven African-American officers, Rowe said she is hoping for more minority applicants.
“We have more minority officers than we’ve ever had,” Rowe said. “I think that is a good thing. We want our department to be a true reflection of our community. I feel like that is very important.”
Rowe said applicants who are already certified officers also have an advantage.
“Those are officers who we can put on the road after a very short training period,” she said.
The police department is currently looking to hire two full-time officers, but Rowe said the list of qualified applicants would be retained until another test is given.
The deadline for turning in an application with the civil service board is Nov. 27. Rowe said those applications can be obtained from the board, which is located in the basement of Jasper City Hall. Applications may also be downloaded at www.jaspercity.com.
To qualify for the written exam, a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 21 years old, pass a physical agility exam, pass a psychological exam, have an excellent driving record and pass a background check, which includes a credit check.
“The more applicants we have, the better,” Rowe said. “Our department may not be the perfect fit for everyone, because we are so structured, but I feel it is a progressive department that is moving in the right direction.”