Q. Applications to become policemen are down, nationwide but they are up in Springfield. We decided to talk to you about the situation in El Dorado Springs.
Police Chief Jarrod Scherieck said, “The only time we accept applications is if we have an opening. The last person we hired when we had an opening, we only had one applicant after advertising it.”
He said that in the past they had as many as 15 apply.
Q. What is the salary for a beginning policeman?
“You’re looking at $26,000 to $27,000. That includes the benefit package. Health, life, retirement. That runs it up to $27,000 to $30,000.”
“The thing about it is: we pay overtime where the county and some of the other agencies don’t. So that’s where the officer’s pay goes up.”
Q. What’s the training to become an officer?
“You must already have your license to become a police officer. You must have your POST certification in your hand before you can even apply.” (Police Officer Standardized Training.)
Potential candidates must take the training at a community college at their own expense. There are two levels of POST training based on population: Class A (required by St. Louis and Kansas City) and Class B (required by all other agencies.) The difference is the number of hours of training. One is over a thousand. The other is 650 hours.
“By Missouri law, you must have so many hours with a Missouri POST training provider, take a test and pass it with a minimum of 70% before they will issue you a license to be a police officer in the state of Missouri.”
Q. Once an officer, what additional training is required?
“Once an officer is hired, they have to do 24 hours of continuing education a year with at least two hours of that being firearms training.”
Q. And what weapons do they have to be trained on?
“General a minimum of handgun and shotgun for your POST requirement. The majority of law enforcement agencies now have handgun, shotgun and patrol rifle.”
Q. What is the patrol rifle?
“It depends on the agency. Some agencies use the AR-15 platform as a patrol rifle. Some agencies use a lever action 30-30 as a patrol rifle. “
Q. What do we use?
“We use the AR – 15 platform for our patrol rifles. “
Q. What caliber?
“We use the NATO .556 then we have three .308 rifles. They are an M-14 type weapon. “
Q. How many officers do you have?
“I have eight full time officers with arrest powers and four reserve officers with arrest powers. They are not really considered part time. Basically, they donate their time.”
Q. What about the animal control officer?
He is part of that eight because he is a commissioned police officer. He was a reserve officer for us when he was a dispatcher. He switched over to animal control. We have to count him as a full time officer now because he has arrest powers. What would help us there: he has the power to make arrests so if somebody becomes belligerent and wants to attack him, he can actually effect an arrest. Also what that does is put an extra officer on the street during the day so if our duty officer needs assistance, he can show up as a police officer and assist that officer in making an arrest and filling out a report, etc and with an active shooter scenario.”
“With Jennifer, she had no powers of arrest and limited use of firearms. It had to do with her job. Where this animal control officer is a commissioned police officer. He carries a side arm. We are working on getting his truck set up so he can carry a shotgun and a rifle in it. That way if we have an active shoot scenario, he can respond and help us.”
The chief was very much in favor of the Cedar County Sheriff making a proposal to provide a School Resource Office at the El Dorado Springs School. He said it increases “the pool” of possible officers to respond if there is a problem at the school.
“I think it’s one part of the solution. I don’t think it is the total answer.”
The chief is continuing to train groups to resist an active shooter or violent threat. He said that a month or two ago he went to Stockton School to conduct ALICE training – Alert, Lock Down, Inform, Counter and Evacuate.
He said there is no requirement under the law for someone with a concealed carry permit to get involved in an active shooter situation. “All they have to do is take care of themselves. There is no requirement for you to save somebody else’s family if you are busy saving yours.”
He said, “A lot of time concealed carry is based off of personal self defense not necessarily to come to the rescue of somebody else because that is a whole new set of things that you have to learn. If you make a mistake, it not only could get you in trouble, but it could get you killed. That’s been apparent on a few incidents that have happened. A person went into a situation to help out but because of a lack of training and lack of advanced skills and other knowledge, not knowing what they needed to know, got them killed. I respect what they were doing, but because of lack of knowledge and the lack of training, they got themselves killed, instead of being the hero. That’s one of those things that CCW classes sometimes don’t go over.”
“There is a lot to learn. I’m constantly learning things by reading, looking into things and talking to other instructors.”
Q. What classes could a person take ?
“The classes you would have to look into are things like NRA Advance Handgun training. There’s Level 1 and Level 2 and different tactical classes. Any classes are going to show you combat and tactical handgun. You do a lot of shooting. You approach some stressful situations where you have to shoot and move. You have an adrenalin dump. Having all that going on in your body is going to affect your accuracy. If you get on the internet, there are a lot of outfits from Springfield to Warrensburg that actually offer classes and they put you through some of those scenarios so you can understand how well you are going to perform. The more you pay, the better the training is going to be.”
Q. It sounds like you need to know yourself?
“Yes, people who hunt know about the adrenalin dump and that you have to calm yourself down to take a well aimed shot. Some people don’t know because they’ve never been in that situation.. That when you put them to doing pushups, run a obstacle course, get their heart rate up so they can see what it’s all about.”
“There’s a difference of night and day between shooting precision pistol and a full combat handgun course running from cover to cover, engaging multiple targets. You have to move and get your heart rate up. If you haven’t had that happen to you before, that’s not the time you should be having an exchange for the first time.”
“When we do our firearms training, we work on that aspect so they can understand what their body is going to be doing. “
Q. So you are full up on officers right now?
“I have to count the animal control officer as a full time police officer. But, technically, we have seven officers and an animal control officer. I would love to have a ninth officer.“
Q. Can the city afford it?
“Not at this point in time. Until then, we’ll do the best with what we have. If we can’t afford it, we’ll do the best we can with what we’ve got. You can’t make money appear.”
He said he thinks that application process nationwide is down because of the hostile attitude toward police.”
“A policeman or policewoman can do exactly what they were trained to do and they get crucified. Then when investigation totally exonerates them, they still have a mark against them.”
“When we hire an officer fresh out of the academy, they are looking at a minimum of three months field training with another officer before they may be ready to be released on their own. So there is a lot of training involved.”