Community Service Officer program helping police recruitment in Golden Valley
The Golden Valley Police Department is stepping up efforts to recruit new officers through one initiative.
It’s called the Community Service Officer program.
A year ago, GVPD had eight sworn-in officers, but now they have 19. Around that same time, Gabriel Page was exploring his options.
That’s when he learned about the Community Service Officer or CSO program.
“I decided it would be a great stepping stone for me,” said Gabriel Page, who is now an officer with the Golden Valley Police Department.
“You don’t always know what you want to do so being able to test the waters to see if this is what you want, if this isn’t what you want, this is a great opportunity to do that,” he added.
It came at a time when the department was struggling to recruit.
“Citizens have been worried about Golden Valley,” said Golden Valley Assistant Police Chief Rudy Perez.
At just eight sworn officers last year, Perez knew they needed to re-vamp the program.
“We said ‘How do we create a program that creates a community-to-career pipeline?'” Perez said.
Now GVPD is growing, thanks in large part to their CSOs. There are seven in the program now, and within the last six months, four including Page are now sworn officers.
“Lot of agencies have CSO programs, but I don’t think they are as robust as to expose the young CSOs to real-life emergency experiences,” Perez said.
Their Community Service Officers are uniformed positions but don’t carry a service weapon. They help on medical calls, parking and animal complaints, vehicle accidents, and more.
“I knew it was going to be different for the better for sure,” Page said.
Perez believes it’s the hands-on experience that helps their CSO’s transition to become a sworn officer.
“I’ve seen them mature, I’ve seen them grow, I see them change into that police officer mentality process,” Perez said.
Six months into his new role as a sworn officer, Page says he feels right at home.
“I love being able to help people in need,” Page said. “If I had to do it again, I would 100% do it again.”
Two more people in the CSO program are set to become sworn officers at the start of the year.
For more information about the program click here.