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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
It's a life choice to become a police officer. When you wear the Bakersfield Police Department uniform, you morph into an ambassador of the community.
That's the take of Sgt. Bobby Woolard, who's put in more than 20 years with the department and said Friday on "First Look with Scott Cox" that the department is accepting police officer applications.
"Personally, it's been rewarding and I couldn't think of doing anything else," said Woolard, a former Marine.
The journey to becoming a police officer is rigorous, he said. The department might receive 1,500 applications, but sometimes only 40 people are invited to the academy.
Applicants must be at least 20 and a half years old at the time the written test is taken. There is no maximum age.
The minimum education required to apply is a high school diploma or GED; a college degree is encouraged. Veterans returning home are encouraged to apply, the sergeant said.
Applying is the first step, followed by a list of exams that must be passed before advancing. Even before receiving an academy invitation, applicants must pass written and physical exams and an extensive background check.
"We want people that can communicate, that are problem solvers with a good moral character and can work as a team," Woolard said.
If applicants receive an invitation to the five-and-a-half-month-long academy, they are paid by the department to attend.
Woolard said people should not be discouraged from applying if they have minor offenses, such as a couple of speeding tickets.
"If you have showed in the past three years that you are a good citizen and have put behind that behavior, you won't be excluded," he said. "It isn't the kiss of death, but it will come up in your background check."
The deadline to apply for a job with the BPD is 1 p.m. June 10. Visit www.bakersfieldpd.us for more information.