Police applicants put through their paces

Trop Maldonado, one of 17 who tested June 5 for a chance at becoming a Beeville Police Department officer, scales a 5-foot wall as part of the physical ability portion of the exam.

BEEVILLE – As America continues to get used to the “new normal” brought about by the COVID-19 emergency, they are finding that some jobs either are changing or being eliminated. But no matter what, there’s always a need for people who are willing to serve and protect.

The Beeville Police Department’s recent call for applicants attracted 15 men and two women, who spent the day June 5 trying out for a place in the department. Those who survived the written test in the morning were put through their paces in the afternoon with a physical ability test administered at the Police Training Center  on West Milam Street.

All applicants were given 1 minute, 50 seconds to complete a 300-yard course that included elements such as running, clearing a 5-foot wall, climbing a ladder and ringing a bell, dragging a 130-pound dummy for about 50 feet and loading and cocking a service weapon. 

“Those functions are job related in our daily work,” said Police Chief Robert Bridge. “Thank God it isn’t every day, but you never know when those skills will be necessary. It could be the difference between someone living or dying.”

Bridge also said, “To be fair, I ran that course. All of our (special response team) ran the course. That’s how we determined a decent response time for the course.”

Those who finished the course  within the allotted time were allowed to advance to the next step.

Ten passed.

“For those who passed the physical ability test, we conduct a background check and they go before an oral interview board,” said Assistant Police Chief Richard Cantu Jr., who proctored the test. “For those who pass the oral interview, they then undergo a psychological test, drug test and medical exam.”

Bridge said the department also considers high school and college transcripts, work history and references.

“It gives you a better indication of the person,” he said. “A wise man once told me that past behavior is almost always an indication of future behavior.”

Then, those who pass within the top three, based on their test scores, are offered a position with the department, Cantu said. Those who are not already licensed peace officers are enrolled into the police academy at Victoria College. 

“We’re hoping that we’re able to have a good selection of candidates when our academy starts in July,” Bridge said. “We want one or two we can pick from to send to the academy.”

Upon successfully completing the academy, new officers will then participate in a field training officer program where they receive four months of on-the-job training with an experienced lawman.

William J. Gibbs Jr. is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 361-358-5220.