PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A growing community is creating more opportunities in public service, especially within the Port St. Lucie Police Department.
"The city is growing, as well as the department, and we have to keep up with it," said Sgt. Darin Howie.
The Port St. Lucie Police Department is encouraging job candidates to apply for various open positions ranging from patrol officer, investigator, police service aide and administrative assistant.
"If somebody is looking to be a police officer and they are not certified, they need to go to the local academy first," said Howie.
Over the last decade, the agency's targeted strategy to reduce crime has been successful.
The police department's annual report shows the crime rate is taking a downward turn and Port St. Lucie is considered one of America's safest cities because of it.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Port St. Lucie has grown about 23% over the last decade and more officers are needed to keep a watchful eye on the growing community.
However, one of the most critical qualities a candidate must demonstrate is a passion for public service.
"It's a great family environment," said Howie. "The city has a lot of support for us and it makes a big difference."
This week, the Port St. Lucie Police Department announced a new position funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.
A coordinator for the city's new Model Traffic Stop Program will develop, educate and instruct 10th-grade drivers of the stresses related to being pulled over for both the driver and officer, teach various components of the traffic stop and address concerns they have about being pulled over.
The program will be paired with additional officer training to maintain consistent standards during any traffic stop.
This will supplement the Safe and Legal Traffic Stops training that officers receive every four years.
The Port St. Lucie Police Department was the only department within the state that was awarded this grant.
"As I reflect on 2020, it's clear to see that last year has been one of the most trying times for law enforcement nationwide, in recent history," said Chief John Bolduc in a statement. "For circumstances out of our control, there has been an increased level of scrutiny on our profession."
Last week, Bolduc recognized all 300 employees and officers within the Port St. Lucie Police Department with an award honoring the teamwork and community involvement demonstrated over the last year.
"Within a short amount of time, we had to overcome and adapt to a new way of policing, a 'socially distant' way of policing," said Bolduc. "Although not easy, and still ongoing, we have met this challenge with hard-work and professionalism."
The Port St. Lucie Police Department will continue its commitment to strengthening community relationships with the public through their involvement with students, public forums, and other partnerships.