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CPD adds three women to police force

Posted: July 28, 2014 - 12:29pm

The Conway Police Department’s most recently hired officers graduated from the Arkansas Law Enforcement Training Academy last week. Three of the four new officers are women.

Chief A.J. Gary said the new hires were the most qualified ones for the job. He explained applicants have to take written and physical exams, and they have to score high enough to get to the top of a certified list to be considered for employment. Officers Yolanda Wheeler, Katie Riegel, Mike Fuentes and Karen Watts were at the top of the list.

“We have be on a move since I started as chief here in 2007 to ensure we have a diverse department,” Gary said. “We have more minority officers than ever before and probably more female officers than ever before. We started a few years back on an effort to increase diversity among personnel, sworn and non-sworn, and I think we’ve done a real good job of that.”

Watts was also recognized by the academy for placing first in academics with an average score of 98.18 percent. The average score of the class was 91.23 percent.

Gary said the Conway Police Department hires officers just a week or two before they go to the academy and does not allow them to work the streets until they have completed their training, although state law does not prohibit new officers from doing so.

“Now that they’ve graduated from law enforcement academy, they will ride with a field training officer for the next 12 weeks and they will continue their learning process,” he said. “Once they finish with the field training officer they will start working in a vehicle by themselves.”

He said the officers will also attend some in-house classes regarding policies and department requirements that are beyond the state requirements.

“They’ll learn crime scene processing and things of that nature. They’ll continue their training process through the next few months,” he said.

He said the department has just made a conditional offer of employment to four more officers who will go to the law enforcement academy in September. He said testing will be held again Sept. 3, and anyone who is interested may go to the department’s website and preregister.

Gary noted the four new officers and the four to whom the department has made a conditional offer are not newly added positions at the police department but rather hires made to fill vacancies from officers who have either retired or taken employment elsewhere.

The Conway Police Department has 117 sworn positions. Eight of those are assigned as school resource officers, and the school district pays part of their salaries. One is assigned to the Conway Housing Authority, and that salary is partially paid by the Conway Housing Authority.

(Staff writer Rachel Parker Dickerson can be reached by email at rachel.dickerson@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1236. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit)

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CHSFootballAlum
13
Points
CHSFootballAlum 07/28/14 - 03:29 pm
3
5
Qualified ???

I have to call BS on the most qualified statement. I don't have a dog in the fight, but I was at the physical fitness segment. It is run on a pass / fail system, 99.9 % of the women were barely able and I mean barely able to even qualify for the fitness section. I know your thinking but they qualified, yes they did. Now our police officers already in the field are going to have to depend,DEPEND on these people to cover their backs whenever they might be in a life or death situation, when some 250 pound male on meth or crack who has unheard of strength has to be taken down. You cannot tell me that these were the most qualified people they could find, maybe the book smartest, which will do them absolutely NO good when it counts the most.

I feel sorry for our present officers whose lives are being put on the line just so we can say we have most female officers we've ever had.

The system of hiring of officers really needs to looked at, maybe with some present day officers input because this system is broke.

GOOD LUCK FELLAS

mikeng1994
0
Points
mikeng1994 07/28/14 - 03:37 pm
3
1
Were you turned down? Washed

Were you turned down? Washed out?

conwaygerl
6674
Points
conwaygerl 07/29/14 - 05:47 am
5
2
Look again.

"when some 250 pound male on meth or crack who has unheard of strength has to be taken down."

Even girl cops get firearms and tasers.

" You cannot tell me that these were the most qualified people they could find"

Maybe not the most qualified, but certainly qualified. Unlike you, apparently

Sorry about you getting beat by a girl...you can always remember the days you played high school football though.

ucantbserious
30513
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ucantbserious 07/29/14 - 08:22 am
3
1
Hmm

"I have to call BS on the most qualified statement."

Do you know anything about these officers beyond what you've seen in this article?

Do you know anything about the applicants who were not hired?

Have you compared the qualifications of these officers versus the applicants who were not hired?

On what criteria do you base your assertion that these are not the most qualified?

To state that they are not the most qualified simply because they are female is idiotic. Perhaps they are former military combat veterans who have a proven track record for being able to handle themselves under fire. Perhaps they are all black-belts and could tie you up in knots. Perhaps they could shoot the wings off a gnat at ten paces. Perhaps they have advanced college degrees in criminal justice or psychology. Perhaps they are bilingual in order to help them interact with the growing Hispanic population. Perhaps they are highly skilled in critical thinking which will serve them well in detective work.

There are so many factors to be considered beyond how much a person can bench press. An officer could be as strong as Hercules but if he's dumber than a bag of hammers and can't recite someone their Miranda Rights then a slick lawyer will have that criminal back out on the street in no time.

Ever heard of the phrase "well-rounded"?

"I don't have a dog in the fight, but I was at the physical fitness segment. It is run on a pass / fail system, 99.9 % of the women were barely able and I mean barely able to even qualify for the fitness section."

That's quite a statistic there. So there were at least 1,000 women who participated in the physical fitness segment? When referring to people, 99.9% equates to a minimum of 999 people. Considering the fact that at least three females passed the fitness segment then that would mean at least 2,997 women had to have participated and failed the fitness segment. Why don't you go back to CHS and try paying attention in math class this time.

InsGuru
5768
Points
InsGuru 07/29/14 - 09:14 am
5
0
"It is run on a pass / fail

"It is run on a pass / fail system, 99.9 % of the women were barely able and I mean barely able to even qualify for the fitness section."

As opposed to... Officer Cameron, who weighs at least 400 lbs? Or the various other CPD officers who probably couldn't pass the physical test now.

If the Federal Goverment can require their employees (military, dea, fbi, etc etc) to maintain physical standards, why can't local goverment? I will say I think that is BS.

If the women passed, they pass and they're qualified.

Igor Rabinowitz
9460
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Igor Rabinowitz 07/28/14 - 03:43 pm
3
0
I know

I know someone who did well at the fitness test but didn't make the cut, someone close to me.

Women were there who did fine on the course, women were there who didn't do well at all, just like the men.

It's actually a fairly rigorous process to get hired by any PD, and a lot of energy is put into keeping it gender (race, etc.) -neutral. It does weigh heavy to vets, but there you go.

Outdoorsie
52
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Outdoorsie 07/28/14 - 04:17 pm
0
0
Hey look it's Fuentes

He's a good guy..cocky fella..but a good guy..Fuentes if u see this congrats man

InsGuru
5768
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InsGuru 07/29/14 - 09:10 am
8
1
Confused

I'm looking at this picture and I thought it said 3 women were hired??

mikeng1994
0
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mikeng1994 07/29/14 - 10:03 am
7
1
Now a beer for you

I wanted to say that so bad, but I've been trying to be nice.

Elmer Fudd
4784
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Elmer Fudd 07/29/14 - 12:01 pm
2
0
Mike

would you are Guru like to clarify your comments so we can all understand them?

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