By Scott Picquet
Chandler (AZ) Police Department
Bike Team Supervisor
The effectiveness of any unit within a police department is dependent upon the caliber of the personnel assigned to it. All too often, officers are assigned to positions for which they are not well-suited or in which they have little interest. Assigning unsuitable officers to a specialty unit can doom that unit to mediocrity, send the message that the unit is expendable, or at worst, put officers at risk. For this reason, the Chandler Police Department has established higher standards for officers applying to specialty units. While this is not uncommon for special response teams, K-9 units, and the like, Chandler has long recognized that not every officer has the skills to be a bike officer and, as a result, has classified the bike team as a specialty assignment. The process an officer must follow to qualify for the Chandler Police Department Bike Team enables the department to ensure that high standards of performance are maintained and goals are achieved.
Officers applying to the Bike Team or any other specialty assignment at the Chandler Police Department must have a minimum of three years of experience as a sworn officer (at least two with the Chandler Police Department) prior to the close of the recruitment. Some specialty assignments have additional requirements that candidates must meet to be eligible for consideration, e.g., Bike Team candidates must pass a physical fitness requirement to be considered for an assignment.
In the Chandler Police Department, all specialty assignments are subject to the standard selection process. The Bike Team has a process (outlined below) that is governed by department policy and city personnel rules. Each specialty keeps an active list of candidates for one year and positions are filled in rank order based on a competitive testing process. Interested employees must 1) complete the specialty assignment application, 2) complete the requested résumé, and 3) forward the application and résumé to the supervisor.
An applicant must obtain a combined passing score of 70% to be placed on the eligibility list.
The selection scoring guidelines are:
1) Written résumé: 10 points
2) Last two performance appraisals: 10 points
3) Practical exercise or past work review: 15 points
4) Presentation of officer’s preparation for the specialty: 10 points
5) Oral interview: 50 points
6) Seniority points: 5 points maximum
Physical Fitness Test
This portion of the test is pass/fail. If the applicant fails, he or she is eliminated from the process. The events are performed sequentially and an overall time of not more than 14 minutes and 30 seconds is required to pass. The following combined activities must be performed:
1) 400-yard run
2) 3-mile bicycle ride
3) 100-yard carry of bike and placement into the back of the bicycle team pickup truck without letting the bike touch the ground during the carry
The applicant begins at the starting line, 400 yards from a parked bicycle provided by the police department. The applicant then runs 400 yards to the bicycle. Upon reaching the bike, the applicant mounts the bike and rides a prescribed 1.5 mile route, make a U-turn, and return to the location the bike was previously parked. At this point, the applicant dismounts the bicycle, carries it 100 yards without allowing it to touch the ground, and places it in the back of a pick-up truck. Buckled helmets are mandatory for the ride portion of the test.
2) Failure to complete the entire test in less than 14 minutes and 30 seconds
3) Allowing the bike to touch the ground while carrying it the 100 yards
4) Not following the testing instructions
Upon successful completion of the bike test within the allotted time, applicants are granted an oral board and proceed to the next step in the qualification process.
Oral Board and Resume Review
Departmental General Orders dictate how the process is administered. The following outline of procedures is applicable to the Bike Team selection process.
Selection Board members are the Bike Team Sergeant, another sergeant/supervisor, and the Bureau Lieutenant. Professional Standards personnel provide instruction on the rating system to the selection board prior to the process. Board members remain the same throughout the process.
The Selection Board has the following responsibilities:
1) Résumés and Evaluations: Review each applicant’s written résumé and the last two complete annual performance evaluations. Assign a score in accordance with the established rating criteria guidelines provided.
2) Practical Exercise or Work Review: Design and evaluate a practical exercise, or review the candidate’s past written work, which may include written reports or investigations. Score this exercise on the candidate’s overall performance, considering quality, content, organization of thoughts, grammar and punctuation, and thoroughness of the documentation.
3) Oral Evaluation: Design questions that relate to the specialty assignment. Score the oral presentation of each candidate.
a) Record the candidate’s responses and indicate their performance on the oral board question sheet for future reference.
b) Score applicants independently of other board members based on the correct answer criteria.
c) Numerically score applicants based on responses to questions measured against established suggested answer criteria.
d) Assign seniority points to a maximum of five points based on twenty years of service with the Chandler Police Department.
e) First line employee: Add .021 points per month of Chandler Police Department service, beginning from date of hire.
4) Recommendation: Forward the rank order list to the appropriate division chief.
Once the testing is complete, an eligibility list is formed and selections are made as positions become available on the team. Oftentimes the top two candidates are invited to take an IPMBA certification course and allowed to work with the full time bike officers as staffing permits and details require.
Sergeant Scott Picquet has supervised the Chandler Police Department Patrol Bicycle Team since 2006. He is also Chandler’s Special Assignment Unit Sniper Team sergeant. A lifelong cycling enthusiast, Scott’s biking experience ranges from interstate touring to his recent completion of the Ironman Arizona 2012. When not out riding, swimming, or running, he can often be found behind his camera, a talent he shared with IPMBA by photographing the 2011 and 2012 IPMBA Conferences. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
© 2013 IPMBA. This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of IPMBA News.