Dothan police talk recruitment and willingness to protect and se - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Dothan police talk recruitment and willingness to protect and serve

The department held the physical fitness assessment for candidates Wednesday at Westgate Park. (Source: WSFA 12 News) The department held the physical fitness assessment for candidates Wednesday at Westgate Park. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
Of the 70 applicants – 36 were eligible to move forward in the application process, but only 22 showed up for the physical test. (Source: WSFA 12 News) Of the 70 applicants – 36 were eligible to move forward in the application process, but only 22 showed up for the physical test. (Source: WSFA 12 News)
DOTHAN, AL (WSFA) -

Dothan Police are working to fill vacancies in the police department. The department held the physical fitness assessment for candidates Wednesday at Westgate Park.

Of the 70 applicants, 36 were eligible to move forward in the application process, but only 22 showed up for the physical test. While the department only plans to fill 9 positions, the low candidate pool is concerning. 

“We’ve definitely seen a decrease in the number of people who want to go into law enforcement,” said Captain Bubba Ott, Dothan Police.

Both Captain Ott and Dothan Police Chief Steve Parrish remember a time when hundreds of candidates would apply and departments could ensure they are picking the cream of the crop. 

“There’s been a lot of distrust in law enforcement over the past several years – and a lot of support, so we’re thankful for that. We just keep plugging away and trying to get the best people we can to fill slots,” said Chief Parrish.

And filling slots at times seems never ending. 

“We’re in a constant state of training and turnover,” said Captian Ott. “The average time on the street for an officer in Dothan as a patrol is 3 years. Chances are if you call 911 today, the guy you’re dealing with is relatively new to the job and that doesn’t always translate into great service.”

Stormie Knight was one of the candidates who showed up for the physical training. She said her dad influenced her to want to become an officer. 

“My dad was in law enforcement and growing up and being around it, I started to fall in love with it,” said Knight.

During the physical test, applicants got a small glimpse of what it would be like to work as an officer. Candidates completed a 1 and ½ mile run, push-up and sit-up test, and a simulation obstacle course, but officers say it doesn’t even scratch the surface of job demands. 

“If hired they’ll be held to a higher standard than APOST (Alabama Peace Officers Standard and Training Commission) or the state will ever expect them to be,” said Captain Ott.

That high standard could cost them their life. In an open letter to recruits, which has been shared hundreds of times on social media, Chief Parrish challenged recruits to reflect on their ability to protect and serve as reports surface that school resource police officers allegedly did not respond to assist students in the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida.

“I tell every recruit when you take the oath of office you’re swearing, ‘So, help me God’. Those are very, very important words. You’re swearing that you’re going to do that and if you’re not going to do that at the Dothan Police Department, I don’t want you here,” said Chief Parrish.

“If you can stand outside that door and listen to kids die – while you sit there fully capable and prepared with weapons and tactics and everything you need to make that stop. If you can sit outside that door and do that, then you and I don’t adhere to the same theory when it comes to honor and integrity and sacrifice,” said Captain Ott.

Recruits say the letter did challenge them to reflect before they made their next step. 

“I had to sit there and think a little bit harder – is this really what I want to do. After thinking about it, and I read it while I was sitting with my dad, I knew I still wanted to be here today,” said Knight.

The department says it’s not sure if the letter was the reason some decided not to move forward in the application process.

Candidates who pass the physical test, will take the written test and could get a formal interview.

Copyright 2018 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.

  • NewsMore>>

  • Plans unclear for reuniting separated immigrant children

    Plans unclear for reuniting separated immigrant children

    Friday, June 22 2018 6:06 AM EDT2018-06-22 10:06:01 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 7:55 PM EDT2018-06-23 23:55:10 GMT
    (AP Photo/David J. Phillip). Jesus Funes, 19-months, cries as his mother, Diva Funes, both immigrants from Honduras, holds him after being escorted back to Reynosa, Mexico, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The family, who was seeking asylum, said they were tol...(AP Photo/David J. Phillip). Jesus Funes, 19-months, cries as his mother, Diva Funes, both immigrants from Honduras, holds him after being escorted back to Reynosa, Mexico, Thursday, June 21, 2018. The family, who was seeking asylum, said they were tol...

    About 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from their families at the border have been reunited since May, a senior Trump administration official says.

    More >>

    About 500 of the more than 2,300 children separated from their families at the border have been reunited since May, a senior Trump administration official says.

    More >>
  • Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight

    Trump jabbed first, and now world hits back in trade fight

    Friday, June 22 2018 1:13 AM EDT2018-06-22 05:13:01 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 7:54 PM EDT2018-06-23 23:54:51 GMT
    (Chinatopix via AP). FILE - In this April 8, 2018 file photo, a container is loaded onto a cargo ship at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China has accused the United States on Thursday, June 21, 2018, of using pressure tactics and ...(Chinatopix via AP). FILE - In this April 8, 2018 file photo, a container is loaded onto a cargo ship at a port in Qingdao in east China's Shandong province. China has accused the United States on Thursday, June 21, 2018, of using pressure tactics and ...

    Trump got in the first jabs; now the world is punching back as the trade brawl spreads.

    More >>

    Trump got in the first jabs; now the world is punching back as the trade brawl spreads.

    More >>
  • GOP struggles to salvage immigration bill, postpones vote

    GOP struggles to salvage immigration bill, postpones vote

    Thursday, June 21 2018 12:41 AM EDT2018-06-21 04:41:36 GMT
    Saturday, June 23 2018 7:45 PM EDT2018-06-23 23:45:13 GMT
    (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talks following a closed-door conference with fellow Rep...(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite). Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., joined by House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., left, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas, talks following a closed-door conference with fellow Rep...

    An ambitious House GOP immigration overhaul is teetering ahead of voting.

    More >>

    An ambitious House GOP immigration overhaul is teetering ahead of voting.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly