CP police tryout draws dozens
By Carrie Napoleon Post-Tribune correspondent April 13, 2013 4:24PM
Crown Point Police Officer Ballas (squating) watched over police hopefuls during the push-up portion of the physical activity tests at Crown Point High School on Saturday April 13, 2013. | Jim Karczewski~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: May 15, 2013 7:10AM
CROWN POINT — Forty-seven candidates fought off the cold and occasional flurry Saturday to vie for a chance to be placed on Crown Point Police Department’s hiring list.
The group of men and women took the football field at Crown Point High School on Saturday morning to complete a series of physical tests to gauge whether they would be allowed to proceed to the written portion of the qualifying exam in the afternoon.
Candidates had to pass five physical-ability tests: a 1.5-mile run in under 16 minutes and 28 seconds, a 300-meter run in 71 seconds, a 16-inch vertical jump, 29 sit-ups in one minute and 28 untimed push-ups, according to Police Chief Pete Land.
“Before we get started, we remind everyone you have to pass every test. If you fail just one you are eliminated from going any further,” Land said.
Jason Wray of Valparaiso said the testing was a chance for him to fulfill a dream before he aged out of the opportunity.
“I always wanted to be a police officer,” said Wray, 34. Currently he works in Internet services and wanted to pursue the opportunity to become a police officer while he still had the chance.
“I decided it was time to go for it or it would be too late,” Wray said.
The city must replenish its list of officer candidates. Just this week the mayor swore in a new officer to replace a retiree, the last candidate on the hiring list, and a number of other retirements are expected in the next year.
Deputy Police Chief James Janda said the department received 127 applications when it advertised for the new list. Of those, 119 individuals confirmed for the Saturday testing. Forty-seven of those confirmations showed up. Janda said he expects the weather was a deterrent for some.
Another approximately 10 applicants who are on active service in the military this weekend will be tested on an alternate date.
It was the added attention the hiring process was giving to veterans that drew Highland resident Leonard Krawczyk to the testing. Krawczyk was a member of the 82nd Airborne in the Army and of the Illinois National Guard and served tours in Iraq, Kuwait and eastern Israel. Most recently he worked for a private military contractor in the Middle East.
Krawczyk said he would like to get a good-paying civilian job like police officer but the opportunities do not crop up often. He was hopeful the city’s intention to give preference to those with military service would increase his chances.
“Even if I don’t get hired, it would be nice to see one or two veterans get hired,” he said.
Janda said the physical tests, the first barrier potential candidates must cross, comply with the same standards employed by the Northwest Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. This is the first time the department has opened the application process to individuals who were not yet graduates of the academy.
Those who complete the physical portion of the test go on to the written portion, which is administered by Chicago-based Stanard and Associates Inc., the industry standard.
Overall, Janda said the candidates were a good group.
“You see who was practicing and who wasn’t practicing,” Janda said.
Nine of the 47 were disqualified by the physical tests. While almost everyone passed the running requirements, sit-ups proved to be the end for those who did not progress.
Samantha Jordan of Valparaiso was confident the sit-ups would not be a problem. Jordan currently works for the LaPorte County Sheriff’s Department and was taking the test in Crown Point to explore different opportunities in law enforcement.
“It’s a different kind of job. I get to see the best and the worst of people and be out in the community,” she said. Jordan was among those candidates to move on to the afternoon written testing.