Keith Shimada / Special to the Home News
Wednesday, Jan. 14, 2009 | 12:01 a.m.
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The grand ballroom in the Suncoast Casino was filled with more than 400 prospective police officers Tuesday, as Metro Police held a recruitment testing event in an effort to fill hundreds of openings.
One of the hundreds of applicants was 43-year-old Troy Martin, who moved to Las Vegas from Southern Utah during the first week of January. He said he began seriously considering a career in law enforcement about six months ago.
“I guess I’m just looking for something besides your ordinary 'j.o.b.,'” Martin said. “But with the economy the way it is, it’s tough to find work.”
Martin said he was also laid off from the Oasis Resort in Mesquite, where he worked as a massage therapist.
Sgt. Dave Orr of Metro Police said that roughly 40 of the 400 applicants would move on to the academy. But they won’t know for another three to six months, with more interviews and psychological exams ahead of them.
An officer in his or her first year with Metro, Orr said, is paid $49,000 annually to start and $53,000 annually after completion of the first year. At the recruitment event on Jan. 13, applicants completed two written tests and a physical agility test.
The written tests covered everything from personal history to reading skills, proper English and memorization.
“Police officers get a lot of information every single day, all day long,” Orr said. “They have to be able to memorize and recall that information.”
The physical agility tests held later that afternoon featured a one-mile run, which recruits had to finish within ten minutes and 49 seconds.
Recruits also had to complete 24 push-ups with no time limit and 32 sit-ups within one minute.
Twenty-three-year-old Charlie Patrick of North Las Vegas arrived at 3 p.m. in shorts and running shoes ready for the physical exam.
“I’m not too worried about it,” said Patrick, who works in air conditioning repair. “I’ve been active pretty much all my life.”
He said one of his good friends graduated from Metro’s police academy in November and recommended the job.
“I just got bored,” Patrick said. “I know everything there is to know about air conditioning. That’s all I’ve been doing since I graduated from high school. I’m just looking for something new.”
Metro Police hope to hire 400 officers in the next year. The next testing date for recruits is at 8 a.m. on Feb. 10 at the Suncoast Casino, at 9090 Alta Dr. near the intersection of Alta Drive and Rampart Boulevard.
Jeff O’Brien can be reached at 990-8957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.