Editorials, Opinion

City is right to want to expedite police hiring

The City of Morgantown has proposed some needed changes to the police hiring process. It doesn’t seem to be looking to cut corners, but rather to cut through some of the red tape.

Under West Virginia Code, the city is required to have a three-member police civil service commission that sets procedures for hiring and promotion. In the current hiring process, a candidate must satisfy the commission through a number of exams and evaluations before being presented to the appointing officer (city manager) as eligible for hire. This includes a written exam, a physical agility test, an oral exam and a polygraph, plus background checks and psychological evaluations.

The city proposes making some of the requirements concurrent instead of sequential — e.g., a candidate could do their physical agility test the same day as their polygraph, instead of waiting multiple days between.

The city has also asked the commission not to use some of the requirements to disqualify a candidate from eligibility. So if someone passes their written and physical exams, but doesn’t do well on their oral exam or has a minor misdemeanor in their background check, the commission wouldn’t immediately nix them. Rather, the information would be passed on to the city manager, who could decide if the person still made a good candidate based on their overall results.

These seem like good changes to us. Morgantown Police has 21 open positions, and it has struggled to fill them. Allowing multiple exams to be taken in the same day is a huge time saver, and it makes sense to have a little more flexibility when making hiring decisions.