Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Interviews and Review Boards

During the last city council meeting a report was given by the San Angelo task force on race relations. There was considerable discussion as the highlights of the information were presented. One of the biggest areas of concern was hiring practices used by the city, especially "oral review boards." These were seen as a problem, mostly because of abuses in the past when these boards were used as a backdoor way to circumvent civil rights and equal employment laws.

The representative from the police department (I must apologize for not getting his name) stated that an interview is required by the Texas Administrative Code, and that the department, since Chief Vasquez had taken the reigns, was using the interview primarily to give the applicant the chance to explain any potential problems from the background check.

Being the curious type that I am, I checked out the reference cited and sure enough, in the section covering licensing and the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education, section 217.1(a)(10) it does require an interview. It specifically says under standards for issuing a license:

"10) has been subjected to a background investigation and has been interviewed prior to appointment by representatives of the appointing authority"

There is a requirement for the interview for law enforcement officers to get licensed. It appears, though, that the interview is intended to be used as an integral part of the background investigation process. A chance for an applicant to explain items that tend to pop up during a detailed investigation. This is a necessary part of a background investigation. As long as the department does interviews primarily for this purpose, they can be a positive, useful tool. That will depend on high leadership standards in the police and fire departments now and continuing into the future.

1 comment:

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