The Corsicana Civil Service Commission voted unanimously Thursday to ease the standards for in-coming police officer candidates in the hopes of getting more potential cops through the doors of the Corsicana Police Department.

Now, potential police officers must have at least:

• 30 hours of college (one year); or

• Two years of military service; or

• Have completed the police academy; or

• Currently enrolled in the police academy.

The change should attract a broader pool of applicants, said Jon Ketcham, chairman of the Civil Service Commission.

“We’ve been keeping statistics on the numbers we’ve been turning away,” he explained. Among those who applied for the test, but couldn’t take it were military personnel with three years of experience, not the regulation four, and people with one year of college, but who didn’t finish their associate’s degrees, he said.

Before the rule change, an applicant had to have:

• 60 hours of college (the equivalent of five semesters or two and a half years); or

• Four years of military service; or

• Two years of college and be a certified police officer; or

• Two years of military service and certification; or

• Four years of previous experience as a police officer.

“A lot of this has to do with what’s going on in the military,” Ketcham said. Police and sheriff’s offices have been hard-hit by officers going into border patrol and other federal government jobs with better benefits or better pay.

The change doesn’t necessarily constitute a lowering of standards, commissioners insisted.

“We’re doing what most others are doing,” said Larry Morrison. “We’re not lowering, we’re changing.”

At the last entry-level police exam offered in late June, 11 people signed up for the exam, but only three showed up to take the test. Of those, none passed both the written test and the agility test.

Comparatively, the last firefighter test given in April had 92 people signed up to take the test, 56 showed up, 42 passed the written exam. Seven of those were given the physical ability test, and all seven passed it. Two were hired to fill the two empty slots.

The police department currently has seven open positions. The next exam is at 8 a.m. Oct. 18 at the library.

In other business, the commission voted to change the rules for police officers to comply with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education rules, and changed the rules about officers who want to come back to the department, opening the door a little wider for returning officers.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jacobs@corsicanadailysun.com

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