January 20, 2012 3:14:00 PM
The Columbus Police Department has its hands full trying to police a city of near 24,000 with 68 officers.
When you also consider that most of the force has five years of experience or less and nine veteran supervising officers who can retire at any moment, the situation is more critical.
And with the spike in crime over the past few months, we don't want just anyone to replace our longtime officers. There's a level of professionalism and depth of knowledge that only comes with experience.
As part of a long-standing buddy system within the department, anyone coming into the department, even if they've spent decades on a police force elsewhere, has to start as a patrolman at the bottom of the pecking order.
That's not much incentive for experienced officers to move to Columbus unless they're being named the chief of police.
If you spend 20 years in a career field, there should be some level of transferability. That hard-earned knowledge should mean something.
Let's put this into perspective. What if other businesses operated this way?
Sorry, Bill Gates; if you leave Microsoft, you'll have to start testing software for bugs and work your way up from there.
What's this, Oprah? You want to start a new network? Let's put you on the teleprompter controls until you prove yourself.
Sound a bit ridiculous?
Columbus Police Chief Selvain McQueen wants to do away with the old policy to allow officers to transfer from other departments and keep their rank. We support his efforts. So should the Civil Service Commission.
Some officers in the department have been outspoken in their opposition to the change. They say they merit promotions, and thus, there is no need to change the rules. While we sympathize with these officers and feel they should also be given fair opportunity, it is in the best interest of the force to change this rule.
There is value in being able to attract officers with experience, who can help turn the tide in Columbus. This change will enable the CPD to better do that.
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