MISSOULA – The Missoula Police Department is welcoming some new recruits to its ranks as six new cadets continue to train to be full-fledged officers.
MPD swore in the new officers Aug. 28, the culmination of a five-month process.
“Our hiring process is a very lengthy process they started back in March,” said MPD Administrative Captain Chris Odlin. “They took the written test, the physical test at that time. Then they put in about a month’s worth of work putting together an application packet, which includes things that people don’t ever consider that they are going to have to turn in someday.”
MPD checks into every part of a candidate’s background and candidates are also subject to medical and psych screenings. MPD then picks out the candidates they feel best fits their team.
“We want people who are going to be able to keep a level head, keep their cool under pressure,” Odlin said. “Ultimately, they have to fit in to the group of people that we work with and that we police.”
Now that the new recruits have been through the initial hiring process, next up for them is a 12-week training period in Helena.
“The academy is 12 weeks, they live in Helena go to the academy every single day. They’ll come home on weekends a little bit, so they’re not completely separated from their families for 12 weeks. It’s an intense learning environment. They’ll learn how to drive police cars at high speeds. They’ll learn how to shoot guns and engage targets and handle scenario-based training that the academy will throw at them.”
Training at the academy might be tough, but MPD believes they have chosen the type of people who can get through the strenuous process and be assets to the force.
“We take the decision to give somebody a gun and a badge and put them out in a patrol car, we take that decision very seriously,” Odlin said. “And so we have a process that is very extensive and has to be, in order for us to be able to put the very best people out there. And I think we do a very good job of that.”
Missoula’s new recruits will train with officers and troopers from across the state in Helena.
-Connor McCauley reporting for MTN News