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The path to becoming a police officer in Norfolk
just got a little easier

Filed by Melanie Woodrow
Oct 4, 2007 07:46 PM EDT

It's a tough job no matter what city you work in, but now applying to become a police officer in Norfolk just got easier. "It's still a very rigorous process, we've just opened it up to more individuals that would have prior been automatically disqualified," says Nancy Olivio, Norfolk's Human Resources Director. She's referring to the changes made to its civil service rules.

Under the current changes, someone with up to 5 points on their license can apply, it used to be 3. There's no longer a zero tolerance policy against those with a past history of cocaine use and applicants can smoke marijuana 6 months before they apply. They used to be automatically disqualified if it was less than a year.

Olivio says that doesn't mean prior drug users will be hired, it just means they'll be considered. "We've been eliminating some very qualified candidates over the last year. We just didn't think that that was serving the city of Norfolk very well."

Donnie Norrell, a retired Norfolk Police Officer served 25 years in the force. "I'd rather see them make the pay and benefits more attractive so you would get better applicants and not have to reduce the standards." He says Norfolk has always been a training ground. After a few years officers go where the pay is better.

Olivio says Virginia Beach pays its police recruits slightly more than Norfolk, but Norfolk pays recruits more than several other cities in Hampton Roads. But, Norrell says Virginia Beach Police Officers reach their maximum pay sooner. "Why not be the leader in paying benefits, get the cream of the crop and quit losing them to other cities," suggests Norrell.