Still moving toward its full-strength staffing of 402 sworn officers that was in place before the 2008 recession, the Anaheim PD hired a record 38 police officers in 2015, says Sgt. Mark Brucks, who as supervisor of personnel is in charge of hiring all PD employees — sworn or otherwise.
The APD also brought aboard 42 full- and part-time professional staff members in 2015.
The APD is diligently working on getting staffed to its current budgeted total of 384 police officers, said Brucks, who recently moved to another assignment. Sgt. Matt Adrian has replaced him.
Another 10 sworn positions have been approved for fiscal year 2016-17, Brucks said.
The numbers (2014 also was busy, with 25 cops and 54 professional staff hired) underscore how the APD is a destination agency for recruits and officers transferring from other PDs, said Brucks and his supervisor, Lt. Kelly Jung.
“We have a good reputation, we pay well, there’s a lot going on in the city and we’re a big enough agency that there’s a lot of variety,” Brucks said.
Said Jung: “Our department’s reputation sells itself. There is a lot of opportunity for promotions and special assignments.”
The APD holds about four or five recruitment drives a year for those considering a career in law enforcement as well as for veteran officers looking to transfer from other agencies. Recruiters must project ahead a couple of years to factor in attrition due to retirements and injuries (in 2015 alone, 22 officers retired from the APD).
Brucks said the APD ends up hiring less than 1 percent of applicants. The process is that extensive, and the standards that high.
In addition to having a clean background, one of the most important qualities a person who aspires to be hired at the APD must have is great character, he and Jung said.
“I want the best cops wherever they are,” said Brucks, who has been running the personnel division for 2 ½ years. As a sergeant, Jung ran the unit for 3 ½ years before she was promoted to lieutenant.
Both love the process of finding and hiring the best candidates.
“The whole process of finding that ideal candidate — being able to go through that process and watching them become a success — is a real blast,” Brucks said.
Added Jung: “It’s almost like you’re the parent and they’re the kids. And these people we’re hiring today, they’re our future replacements.”