There’s a new sheriff in town … or just a new officer, soon

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By Brendan Wilner
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — In the city of DeWitt, the police department will be seeing a new face in the office this spring. According to Chief Bruce Ferguson, the department was accepting applications for a new full-time police officer from the dates of March 7-28.

Chief Bruce Ferguson has a big decision to make on who he will hire. Photo from city of DeWitt website

Chief Bruce Ferguson has a big decision to make on who he will hire. Photo from city of DeWitt website

According to the city job posting, the job includes 12-hour shifts, being community policing-oriented, enforcement of all state and local laws and ordinances, and prevention, detection, and investigations of crime and traffic crashes. With the deadline closed, it will only be a matter of time until the decision is made.

The process was a long, thought out one that had many applicants apply, according to Ferguson. He also said that they had people contact them with experience levels from 0-30 years of being a police officer. Ferguson said that experience level is one of the most important qualifications that he looks for in a new officer.

“We look for someone who can meet all of the criteria,” said Ferguson, “We take into experience level as a key factor on who we pick and trust with the job.”

He said that the department received about 13 applications and from there they narrow it down to their top five. After that they take the applicants through a serious of interview questions, followed by philosophy on policing, and after that they can go on a ride along with current officers.

According to Phil Schertzing, who is an assistant professor at the Michigan State University School of Criminal Justice, the department will likely do more after the interview questions.

“They would do background checks, including taking fingerprints, and conducting computer checks of their driving records with the Secretary of State,” said Schertzing, “They will also check for the possibility of any outstanding warrants or criminal history in the state’s LEIN (Law Enforcement Information Network) and federal NCIC (National Crime Information Center) databases.”

Schertzing believes that the city of DeWitt would want someone who seems likely to engage in positive relationships and community policing, as it is a smaller town—sort of a bedroom community—with relatively low crime rates in terms of violent crimes.

Ferguson said that the decision on who the new officer is would be made in late April. The job also comes with competitive wage scale, MERS Pension Plan, healthcare, dental, & vision insurance, and paid vacation, compensation, sick, and personal time.