DOTHAN, Al. (WTVY) The Dothan Police Department is constantly working to improve, both their community relations and personnel. One way that's changing is the new qualifications needed for incoming officers. Moving forward, a high school diploma simply won't be enough.
"Anyone with a high school diploma or G.E.D., they must take the basic ability test in order to apply for the academy", said Training Lt. Jason Penn.
The test is similar to the S.A.T. and will feature 3 distinct parts.
“… This test includes, applied mathematics, one area, reading comprehension and graphic literacy" said Lt. Penn.
The change comes after the Alabama Peace Officers Standards and Training Commission adopted the assessment. The new policy requires applicants to have a 2 year degree from an accredited school or have previously been certified through the commission. If they’ve worked as an officer before, they simply have to take a short course, not repeat the academy. Penn said they've seen a rise in unqualified applicants.
D.P.D is looking to hire 6 more officers and Penn said the new policy is just another way to ensure they get the highest-quality applicants.
"I really feel like it's going to improve the quality of applicant, requiring this test.", said Penn.
The new policy goes into effect July 1st for all new applicants. Currently the test is only given once a month. However, the Dothan Police Department is working with Wallace Community College to schedule the test more times a month.