From city Communications Director Brett Broesder:
Hundreds of police candidates will complete oral interviews this week as the city moves toward hiring a new police academy class.
“Bridgeport is a very diverse and inclusive community so we want diverse and inclusive panels to conduct the interviews. That is why we invited community members to participate in the interview process,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “They are stakeholders in Bridgeport and deserve to be part of the process.
“I look forward to swearing in a new academy class and even more so administering the oath of office early next year when these men and women graduate as Bridgeport police officers,” Mayor Finch added.
The candidates already have completed the written portion of the civil service exam as well as he physical agility exam. More than 800 candidates are scheduled to complete oral interviews this week with one of 14 three-person panels. Each panel will include one city official, one ranking police officer and one community member.
Carmen Colon, the District Executive Director under the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, will sit on one of the panels.
“I’m really excited to be here because as a resident of the City of Bridgeport, I’ve lived in the City of Bridgeport my entire life and I am a product of the Bridgeport Public School system,” Colon said. “I’m really excited that our Mayor’s Office and the Civil Service office have taken the time to have us as part of the process. It’s also my understanding that this is the first time in the history of the City of Bridgeport that the process is being done this way.”
Carolyn Vermont, the Director of Urban Initiatives for Connecticut Against Gun Violence, believed that a diverse group of people on panels that includes members of the community members will create public confidence in the process.
“As community leaders, each day we are out there in the community,” said Vermont. “We know what some of the needs are. We know that we need to strengthen the relationship between police officers and the community. So, this gives us an opportunity to be a part of the solution to ensure that we are hiring applicants that can truly relate to the community, respect the community, treat all the residents with dignity.”
Mayor Finch said, “We want not only to hire the best candidates but have an academy class that reflects the diversity of our city. The men and women will be working in our neighborhoods for the next 20 to 30 years.”
The interviews will take place over three days at the Webster Bank Arena.
Once the oral interviews are completed, the testing company will calculate each candidate’s score. Bridgeport residents will receive an additional 15 percent of their score for residency.
The goal is to seat up to 40 police recruits this fall. They would graduate in the spring.