My amazing husband just completed the testing process for his police department to be promoted to sergeant. It is his second time through the process. The department conducts this testing every two years…two very.long.years apart.
Two years ago, the process was relatively simple: As long as an officer met the minimum requirements (something like 5 years of experience, no major discipline action on record, and 2 years with the department), they took a multiple choice test and then had to do an oral board with 4 command staff members from other departments. From those two tests, each candidate got a score and was ranked. Promotion occured based on where the officer ranked and needs of the department (i.e. Needed a female sergeant so they dipped down past a couple of guys to promote her). Two years ago, my husband was twenty-something out of like 47 people. They promoted something like 7 people from that list.
This time, there were changes. First, the department decided it was ridiculous to have to put everyone through an oral board when their multiple choice test score was so low they would never be promoted. As a result, it was decided that only the top 30 scorers from the multiple choice test would move on to the next round. Then, it was decided to add another component to the process: an essay. The essay would be scored by three leaders from other departments as well. The chief also announced he would be promoting somewhere around 10-12 people from this list. At the informational meeting there were about 50 some odd people wanting to test. Lots of competition.
Now keep in mind, my hubby found out about this process sometime around Juneish. That’s when we were in the process of buying our house, getting custody of my stepson, and traveling to Las Vegas for me to get an award. Fast forward to August: we renovate the entire inside of the house, move, change schools for my 5th grader, I get promoted, and oh yeah, our oldest enlisted. Something else to keep in mind is that the multiple choice test consisted of questions derived from a specific textbook that costs around $150 (which I bought the 6th edition two years ago, and of course, there was a 7th edition for this round) as well as all of the department directives (which is about the size of a 3 inch binder). Two years ago, my husband studied for at least 3 months prior to the test. So, here we were in September with zero studying done and no money to buy the newest edition of the textbook. Crap.
Here comes October and the test. We basically took the 6th edition and reviewed the major highlights. My husband got a hold of all of the directives and was frantically reading, highlighting and studying. The day of the test, he really didn’t feel prepared, BUT he scored ok. We didn’t know where his score compared to anyone else. We did hear a rumor that someone got a 96, so that didn’t help my husband feel too confident with his less than 80 score (no honey, I’m not putting your actual score out there 🙂 ). A couple of days later, he got the call that he had made it into the top 30! YAY!!! And crap…now we have to prepare for the oral board. This is where he fell apart last time.
I figured out a way to condense the major speaking points for each of the question types into a list of 10 things to remember. We made the list of categories general enough that by memorizing the card, he would hit each point he needed to and it would apply to any situation presented to him. He then worked to memorize it. The day of the oral board he woke up with barely any voice at all thanks to an awesome cold shared with him by my stepson. He kinda looked like this (except sexy hot in his dress uniform):
Last time his oral board took like 12 minutes, and he was told he didn’t take enough time. Oh and they had 30 minutes total. This year, my beloved took 26 minutes, memorized his speaking points card, and NAILED it! He even had plenty of voice to talk with (Thank you Jesus). We didn’t know at the time how well he had done, but we knew he then had to face his biggest challenge: the essay. My husband is a great storyteller and can write a mean report of his official police work, but he doesn’t have much confidence in his technical writing abilities. He was only given a very broad topic: Police Accountability. Wow…really?!
Yeah I know…not much to go on at all. Then the day before the essay, he is in massive pain down the right side of his jaw and into his neck from an infection. The day of the essay, he woke up completely pain free (God is still watching out for him)! Right after he finished his essay, the pain came back with a vengeance. He went to his doctor, got a prescription, and everything is fine now. Then we waited…
This week he got a text from an acquaintance who got the #1 ranking. My husband was just hoping to be in the top 10. I convinced him since I was working from home that day (long story short, I got the same freakin’ cold he had), that he should just go to the department and find out how he did, so he made an appointment and off he went. A few minor distractions and one phone call later, he found he is ranked #2 on the list of 30!!!!!!
I am SOOOOOO proud of him! He was/is shocked. I mean literally speechless. Later that day, he ran into the chief while dropping off my stepson for Police Explorers, and the chief said, “Hey Sarge”. EEEEEEK!!!!! He also told him his secretary would be setting up an appointment for my hubby to come in and talk to him. Then his current sergeant told him, “If you’re still an officer when I get back in 2 weeks, I will let you run the district”. HOLY CRAP!
Of course my husband is all….well IF I get promoted, and IF I don’t get passed over, blah blah blah negative nancy. I know he doesn’t want to get his hopes up, but I mean, YOU’RE #2!!! You’re going to get promoted!!! And then life changes again for us because he will almost definitely be back on nights…with that stupid woman…which impacts our family schedule…hmmmmmm. Good thing I have that Army Family training that helps me adjust as needed right?!