224 – Transfer to Commissioned Deputy Sheriff

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I. Purpose

This policy provides directives for employees seeking to become commissioned peace officers with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO).

II. Policy

Employees wishing to become commissioned peace officers with the HCSO may be invited to attend the HCSO Academy’s Basic Peace Officer Course (BPOC) upon applying and successfully completing required testing.

The HCSO will also provide a gateway program for employees already licensed as a peace officer by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) to become commissioned as deputies.

Eligibility, testing, and selection for both programs must be impartial and based on the rules of this policy. Any application or waiver may only be accepted if it is in the best interest of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) and at the discretion of the Sheriff or his/her designee.

III. Prerequisites

A. Qualifications

An employee wishing to attend the Basic Peace Officer Course must:

1. Be able to perform essential functions of the job,

2. Be able to work overtime and varying duty hours,

3. Be at least twenty years and six months of age by application date,

4. Pass a physical examination consistent with TCOLE requirements,

5. Pass a psychological evaluation, conducted by an HCSO designated psychologist or psychiatrist, consistent with TCOLE requirements,

6. Pass the Physical Abilities Test (PAT),

7. Pass the Police Officer Selection Test (POST),

8. Pass a thorough criminal history check,

9. Have a valid Texas driver’s license,

10. Have served an uninterrupted minimum of six months with the HCSO since his or her original date of hire, and

11. Have one of the following:

a. A high school diploma, or G.E.D., and a minimum of one year of service with the HCSO

b. A minimum of 30 college credit hours from an institution recognized by TCOLE as accredited; or

c. A High School Diploma, or G.E.D., and a minimum of two years active military service in the United States Armed Forces with an Honorable Discharge.

B. Disqualifications

An employee must not:

1. Be on any form of probation,

2. Have received an evaluation scored lower than 20 for non-supervisory personnel, or lower than a combined score of 30 for supervisory personnel, within the last 12 months.

IV. BPOC Testing

A. There will be no variations of any testing procedure due to a candidate’s gender, age, or physical condition.

1. The Human Engagement and Resources Division (H.E.A.R.D.) must compile a list of qualified applicants.

2. If multiple employees have the same date of hire, the lower employee identification numbers (EIN) will take precedence.

3. In coordination with the Academy, H.E.A.R.D. will determine how many candidates are selected to test depending on the total number of candidates on the list.

B. Physical Abilities Test

Each candidate must sign a liability release letter prior to participating in the PAT. The PAT consists of several challenges designed to simulate physical stress which may be encountered on the job:

1. Mile and a Half Run

Candidates must complete a mile and a half mile run on a designated course in no more than 15 minutes and 30 seconds. The result will be documented by time and as pass or fail.

2. Mannequin Drag

While moving backward, candidates must drag a 165-pound mannequin for 60 feet in no more than 90 seconds. There will only be two attempts.

3. Push-ups

Candidates must complete at least 20 standard push-ups in one minute or less. Each candidate must start from the upright position, with arms locked, and feet no more than 12 inches apart.

The candidate must lower his or her entire body downward, and raise their entire body back up to a full, arm-locked position to constitute one repetition. The entire body must be lowered as a single unit until arms are parallel to the ground and the candidate’s chest touches a 3×3 wooden block positioned on the ground underneath the candidate’s chest.

4. Sit-ups

Candidates must complete a minimum of 45 bent-knee sit-ups in two minutes or less. Each candidate must start from the upright position with hands behind their head, and fingers interlaced.

a. Feet may be no more than 12 inches apart, and must be stabilized with the hands of another person.  No other method of bracing or holding the feet is allowed. At no time will feet be held with hands behind the ankles or calves for support or stabilization.

b. The candidate must completely lower his or her upper torso both back and down, with shoulders touching the ground, then return to the upright position to constitute one repetition. When coming up, the chest must break a plane of 90-degrees.

c. The buttocks must remain on the ground throughout every movement and not be lifted up to support the upper body.

d. Resting may only be in the upright position, with hands remaining behind the head, fingers interlaced.

C. Weapons Handling Test

1. Handgun Trigger Press

Candidates must be able to hold a semi-automatic handgun shoulder high, at arm’s length, and press the trigger five times in 10 seconds with the index finger of each hand.

a. The candidate will begin with his or her right hand, and finish with his or her left hand. Upon command by the test administrator, the candidate will pull the slide back with the left hand, release it, and let it return forward.

b. The candidate will press the trigger with the index finger of the right hand. This procedure must be repeated five times within the time limit.

c. The test administrator will instruct the candidate to change hands. The clock is stopped and will be restarted for the left hand. The exchange of the weapon from right to left hand is completed with the semi-automatic handgun shoulder high, at arm’s length. The sequence will then be completed with the left hand.

2. Shotgun Trigger Press

Candidates must be able to shoulder a pump action shotgun and disengage the safety. With the safety disengaged, the candidate will cycle the action and press the trigger. This denotes one repetition. The candidate must perform this procedure five times in 10 seconds. This sequence will then be completed from the left shoulder.

a. The clock stops before changing shoulders. The shotgun may be lowered to change shoulders, but no longer than thirty seconds.

b. The shotgun must be placed on “safe” before exchanging shoulders. The test administrator will ensure the shotgun is placed on “safe” each time.

c. The candidate will begin in a standing position with the shotgun held to his or her right shoulder in a firing position, muzzle shoulder high. The left hand will be placed on the fore grip, and the right hand will be placed on the shotgun grip with the index finger extended over the trigger.

D. Driving Motor Skills Test

1. In a standard police vehicle, the candidate must:

a. Adjust his or her seat and safety belt to a proper position.

b. Be able to see over the steering wheel,

c. Be able to operate the accelerator and brake pedals, and

d. Utilize the left, center, and right rearview mirrors.

2. The candidate will receive instructions from a test administrator located outside of the vehicle via a two-way radio to turn the steering wheel to full lock in both directions. A test administrator will utilize the two-way radio to instruct the candidate when to begin. The test administrator will set the volume to a normal voice level.

3. The candidate will be required to key the microphone on the radio and transmit his or her name and date of birth repetitively while simultaneously turning the steering wheel.

4. The candidate will be required to complete this event with each hand.

5. The test administrator will instruct the candidate to return the steering wheel to the center position and to observe his or her left, center, and right rearview mirrors. A second test administrator, located 25 feet behind the test vehicle, will give three distinctive hand signals.

6. The candidate will be required to recognize the hand signals and report them to the test administrator seated in the vehicle.

V. Failure to Meet BPOC Application Requirements

If an applicant fails any part of the process, he or she will be dismissed from continuing and must wait six months to reapply.

VI. The BPOC Eligibility List

H.E.A.R.D. will compile an eligibility list of applicants who have successfully completed the entry requirements for the BPOC.

A. Executive Administration will determine the number of positions designated to internal and external candidates.

B. Candidates on the eligibility list who are not selected will remain on the list and receive initial preference for the next BPOC.

1. These candidates must retake and pass the following as needed:

a. PAT – required prior to every class

b. POST – valid for one year

c. Psychological and medical evaluations – valid for 180 days

d. Criminal history check – required prior to every class

VII. Failure to Meet BPOC Requirements

Employees should be aware of the outcomes of failing the BPOC.

A. Continued Employment Not Guaranteed

If an employee fails to complete the BPOC, there will be no guarantee of his or her continued employment. A determination of continued employment will be made based on available position openings and reasons for failure of the course.

B. Waiting Period to Reapply

1. If an employee fails a BPOC, he or she must wait a minimum of six months from the date of failure to be eligible to restart the application process.

2. If an employee is removed from the BPOC, due to disciplinary action or other unfavorable conditions not subject to termination, he or she must wait a minimum of one year from the date of removal to be eligible to restart the application process.

a. In this situation, an employee must make a written appeal to the Sheriff, through his or her chain of command, to request approval to reapply for another BPOC.

C. Only Two Attempts Permitted

An employee is only allowed two attempts to pass the BPOC. If an employee fails or withdraws twice, he or she will become ineligible to attend future BPOCs.

a. The employee must make a written appeal to the Sheriff through his or her chain of command to request approval to reapply for another BPOC.

b. The written appeal will be approved or disapproved by the Sheriff, and the Sheriff’s decision is final.

c. If the written appeal is approved, the employee enters another BPOC, and he or she is once again removed due to any disciplinary action or unfavorable conditions, he or she will be permanently disqualified from enrollment into any future BPOC.

VIII. PPD Training

Employees who successfully complete the BPOC will be entered into the Probationary Patrol Deputy (PPD) training program. However, to be commissioned as a deputy, the employee must complete the PPD program.

A. If a candidate fails the PPD training program, due to performance or voluntary withdrawal, there will be no guarantee of his or her continued employment.

1. A determination of continued employment will be based on available positions and the best interests of the HCSO.

2. Should a decision be made for continued employment, the employee will be removed from the Deputy classification.

3. An employee will have a 12-month waiting period to be eligible to reapply and restart the process through Section IX of this policy.

B. Failure of the PPD program will be handled in accordance with Section VIII (A) of this policy and eligibility lists will be maintained by H.E.A.R.D. consistent with Section VI.

Revisions

This policy has been revised on the below listed dates:

February 22, 2009 July 29, 2016   November 12, 2018

April 11, 2010 April 24, 2017 August 27, 2021

March 11, 2013 November 6, 2017

August 30, 2013 June 11, 2018

November 18, 2015 August 16, 2018

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