Palestine looking for a few good — and qualified — police officers

Finding a qualified police officer to work and live in Palestine is not an easy task.

At Wednesday’s neighborhood watch meeting, Interim Palestine Police Chief John Herod explained some of the difficulties in finding qualified police officers for his department.

Recently four applicants tested to be a Palestine police officer, and not one of them passed all of the required tests, which include written tests, physical agility and background checks.

Herod said, to be a Palestine police officer, a person will have to meet the police department's high standards.

The police department is currently short a few officers, and Herod thinks he needs a larger applicant pool. He has and will visit other police academies to tell them of the job openings in Palestine.

One officer explained he was sold on Palestine after then-interim Police Chief Mike Alexander spoke to his San Antonio police academy on police officer positions in Palestine.

Herod said he would like to hire experienced officers to help with those who have little or no experience. One way the PPD attracts experienced officers is to to pay their moving expenses.

Another issue is retention; officers can get the training needed in Palestine, and then move to a larger community with a larger police force that pays much more.

A police cadet makes $16 an hour and a probationary officer makes $17.08 an hour in Palestine.

Police officers earn more through steps and promotions, and Herod mentioned raises occur every two years.

When asked if it would help to retain officers if the pay increases occurred every year, Herod said he is looking into a few things.

Detective Kaylynn Griffin, who is in charge of the narcotics division, said it's not all about the money.

Griffin said if she worked for a police agency in Dallas, she would not have the same career possibilities, saying maybe in five years she would be considered to be part of the narcotics team.

She conceded she would probably make more money working for a larger agency like Dallas and Tyler, but reiterated money is not the only thing.

“This is a good place to live and work,” Griffin said. “I love this town.”

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John Herod  Officer  Police  Work  Hire  Money  Kaylynn Griffin  Palestine Mike Alexander