“We want the human being to come to the job first and the police officer-self to arrive second.”
In 2020, recognizing the value of a shared and collaborative hiring process for the critical role of police officer, Public Safety expanded its interview committee to include representation from the Office of Multicultural Education as well as a student. Other members of the committee include Public Safety and Human Resources. Each member of the committee brings their lived experience to the process. Through questions and discussion in the initial interview, their inquiry of each candidate rests in their unique concerns and expectations of what a good police officer is made of. Through committee consensus, finalists are moved to an interview with the chief of police and deputy chief of police.
The interview with the chief and deputy chief is less formal. It is an opportunity to get to know the candidate, probe a little about their interests, goals, values and gauge their temperament. It is also an opportunity to explain to the candidate what the expectations are of our officers and how this work at Holy Cross is both different from a city or town and similar. If the candidate appears to be an appropriate match, they are moved into the “background investigation” stage.
Well before police reform came to Massachusetts in 2021, part of which mandates a rigorous background investigation be completed before someone is hired as a police officer, Public Safety was committed to hiring only those who could pass an intense background screening process.
Public Safety has certified background investigators among its members who are trained to conduct comprehensive background investigations on police candidates. This is a lengthy process that seeks to affirm or disqualify the candidate for continued eligibility for the position. An average background investigation takes four to six weeks. The background begins with the candidate completing and returning a 21-page Personal History Statement which includes copies of the birth certificate, a complete work history, a residence history, family membership, interests, foreign travel, educational completions, certifications, any military history, and a recitation of any adverse or benign interaction with law enforcement in any capacity.
The background investigator conducts a criminal history check through the FBI Criminal Justice Information Systems and other law enforcement resources, collects supporting certifications from original sources, secures original academic transcripts, interviews current and former supervisors, colleagues, neighbors, friends, and every police agency for the jurisdiction where the candidate has resided and anyone else or reviews any other documents that we believe may be able to speak to the candidate’s history and character. Most of these contacts are not those listed as references by the candidate.
If the investigator discovers that the candidate misled the investigation to any degree or intentionally omitted any information, they are immediately eliminated. If all of their information stands up, they are moved to the next hiring stage, which is a psychological evaluation, a physical exam and drug screening.
The psychological evaluation is conducted by licensed psychologist/psychoanalyst Dr. John M. Madonna, Ed.D., executive director of Chandler Psychological Services.
The physical examination and the drug screening are conducted by an occupational health provider retained by the College.
If the candidate receives a favorable recommendation from Dr. Madonna and passes the physical exam and drug screening, they may be offered the position.
From start to finish, it can take three to four months or longer to onboard a successful candidate as a new police officer at Holy Cross