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Police hiring: What Central Texas departments look for

Posted at 8:13 PM, Jan 09, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 23:33:38-05

Many Central Texas police departments are on the hunt to hire. Maybe you've seen billboards, or TV commercials showing their recruitment efforts.

But 25 News found the officers cities want these days look very different from what you might expect.

"It's more than a job, it's a lifestyle," says a slickly-produced ad seeking to turn citizens into Waco police officers.

Waco wants officers, but so do other Central Texas departments and departments around the state.

"It's extremely tough. We're all competing for these positions," said Hewitt Police Chief Jim Devlin, who says cities now recruit police officers the way some colleges recruit football players, with incentives and benefits.

What do they look for?

"The days of just protect and serve, it doesn't really explain everything we do now," explained Wilson Lopez of Killeen PD, who says officers must also communicate, empathize, and listen.

"Somebody who's going to be able to hold some composure, somebody who's considerate and somebody who's wanting to work with the community," he said.

Why? Police departments say officers with community connections and good listening skills hear more, learn more, and keep the peace more.

"When people can see the human-side of officers, see that the officers are somebody they can can trust, that has their best interest in mind, they're much more likely to interact with those officers and have productive results from those interactions," said Cody Weems of the Temple Police Department.

Local departments say their basic standards have not changed: A high school diploma and qualified for TCOLE or state certification.

"We are partners in our community," says the Waco recruitment video.

All agree, partners solve crimes more than "enforcers."

Temple doesn't have a big hiring campaign going right now, but Killeen currently has 16 officer openings and 27 civilian positions.

Central Texas police departments hiring pages

Waco Police Department

Temple Police Department

Killeen Police Department

Belton Police Department

Hewitt Police Department

Robinson Police Department

Woodway Police Department

Bellmead Police Department