MPD recruits clear major hurdle

By Staff
BIG TEST Dareall Thompson, front, Raymond Williamson, right, and Mitch Blakeney, background left, take a written test one of several tests required before they can become a law officer with the Meridian Police Department. Photo by Paula Merritt / The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael / staff writer
March 24, 2002
A group of prospective Meridian police officers took their first steps toward earning their badge and joining the force: They passed verbal, written and intense physical tests last week.
Next up: the 18 candidates now must clear an extensive background check and then be approved by the Civil Service Commission and the mayor.
Capt. Keith McCary of the Meridian Police Department said he was happy to see so many applicants pass the three tests last week all administered at the Meridian/Lauderdale County Training Center.
Currently, the MPD is 19 officers short of a fully-staffed department of 116. City statistics show that the MPD has had one of the highest turnover rates among city departments during the past three years.
MPD Chief Benny DuBose said he hopes the officers if they make the final cut help turn the department around.
The tests began Wednesday, when 26 applicants took an intense, three-hour physical exam that required them to perform calisthenics, run 11/2 miles and run an obstacle course.
Eight of them failed.
The remaining 18 returned Thursday for a four-hour written test. They were asked 90 multiple choice questions that included math problems, accident scenarios and crime scenarios.
Then, on Friday, they returned again for a verbal test in which each of them interviewed individually with DuBose and other high-ranking MPD officials.
McCary said the city makes the testing process hard for a reason.
McCary said after the officers are hired, they usually have a six-month training process before they're in a patrol car alone.

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