Civilian hires becoming popular trend in police departments

Joining the national trend of recruiting civilians into the police force, the Worcester Police Department’s Latent Print Unit has seen the addition of another a civilian member to its team. Across the country, police departments are now hiring highly-trained civilians to perform jobs such as DNA and fingerprint analysis as opposed to police officers.

The Worcester Police Department now boasts two civilian members in its fingerprint analysis team -Jenna Alimberti and Hemali Gunaratne.

Hiring civilians who are highly trained in particular aspects of the investigation process is now becoming a common trend across the country. According to Worcester police chief, Gary J Gemme, the entire unit will consist of civilian members following the retirement of Lt David P Grady and latent print examiner Detective Darlene A Rocheford.

He says about civilian members of staff in the unit: “They’ve performed beyond our expectations. They quickly are acquiring the expertise that would take many more years, if we were training officers that didn’t come on the job with the background and training these individuals have.”

Both civilian hires in the department’s Latent Print Unit hold degrees in chemistry and biochemistry. According to the Telegram, the Crime Scene Unit and Latent Print Unit process around 800 latent fingerprint assignments each year. Worcester, unlike other police departments, does not have a backlog in fingerprint assignments.

The news comes in the wake of reports that the government plans to cut 5800 frontline police officers by 2015, raising concerns over public protection across the country. The report by Her Majesty Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) also found that a fifth of front counters in police stations will close.