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The Waxahachie Police Department hosted a hiring event Saturday, May 15, to test for three open positions. Candidates were given both written and physical tests in this first step of the hiring process.

Applicants came not only from around the area and across the state but from different parts of the country, including Michigan, Ohio, California, and Mississippi. The department had 51 people apply, of which 27 turned out for the event. Of those, 17 candidates passed both the written and physical tests.

Assistant Police Chief Joe Wiser said Waxahachie is attractive to applicants because of the amenities it has to offer and the growth it is experiencing, but the biggest impact stems from how the department treats people.

“Our philosophy is that, if we are going to expect them to be family and be a part of our family, we better start that from day one, so we don’t lose them in the process,” Wiser said. “We have a team put together here and everyone believes in that philosophy. It is a part of our core values to show respect to these people from day one.

“We hear regularly from the people that are applying with us and from other agencies that we are a little different here and we are proud of that,” he said.

Wiser said all of Waxahachie officers involved in the hiring event work to ensure a positive atmosphere for applicants so they can be successful. Officers do this through not only a hearty handshake and a smile but also by offering words of encouragement.

Detective James Taylor, who served as one of the proctors of the row test, said positive reinforcement helps a person give everything they’ve got. The row is 2,000 meters on a row machine and simulates the type of physical stress a police officer might face on a call. Taylor assisted with aspects such as the candidate having the proper form before the test starts so they could have the best possible outcome.

“Anybody that has been in the gym knows that encouragement is key,” Taylor said. “You have to have that. I go to the gym all of the time and it is inspirational to me to see other people in the gym that are working hard.

“When I am coaching that person along, they might be close to the mark or maybe they are losing their form and I try to dial that back in with them without doing anything other than coaching them along,” he said. “That coaching is vital, and it will push that adrenaline to get you over that mark.”

Lt. Marcus Brown shared Taylor’s thoughts about the process and its importance.

“Chief (Wade) Goolsby has fostered and allowed for an environment that is welcoming and family-oriented,” Brown said. “You can see that across our facility. He encourages our officers to come to these hiring events and to welcome our applicants and get to know them as early in the process as possible.

“We are always excited about new applicants applying with us,” Brown said. “It gives us the opportunity to get to know these people as well as get a first glimpse of the future of our organization.”

Applicant Michael Ray, who currently serves with a major metropolitan agency, said Waxahachie stood out from other departments where he has tested with in the past.

“This is a department that I knew about from working up here in DeSoto,” Ray said. “It is a growing city and a good area. I like the atmosphere and everything that is going on out here. It went very well and was a smooth process. It was easy. Everyone was helpful. Unlike most testing places, it was very instructive and encouraging.”

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