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Ron Fink: Hiring Police Officers a Challenge in Lompoc | Opinions

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A career in law enforcement is challenging and like the firefighting profession, presents opportunities to help your neighbors in ways that are reserved for only the best and brightest individuals in the community.

If you are someone who likes to solve complicated puzzles, are curious concerning how and why an event occurred, an interested questioner and listener, and can put facts into a narrative form that others can comprehend, then you are a potential candidate for the position of police officer.

A study by the Rand Corporation a few years ago determined that the ideal police officer candidate lives within 60 miles of the jurisdiction that is hiring and has either two years of college education or four years of honorable military service.

But these attributes alone won’t get you the job. There are background checks, a preliminary written test, a physical examination and an oral interview before you’re hired.

Then there is the police academy, usually six months long, that tests your ability to understand and apply tens-of-thousands of laws to everyday situations, your physical agility to “leap tall buildings in a single bound” and your report writing skills.

After successful completion of the “academy” you’ll be assigned to a training officer and, just like the military, you’ll have to learn the essentials of policing from a seasoned expert before you are allowed to patrol on your own.

Another challenging position is that of a public safety dispatcher. To do this job you must possess the ability understand sometimes-panicked people reporting what they see as a catastrophic event, to process that information quickly, determine what the problem is, where it is occurring, and then send the appropriate resources to deal with the situation.

You must also be able to multi-task, focusing on the radio traffic of responding units while answering other emergency calls. Things can happen quickly when units arrive on-scene, and you must be able to react quickly and accurately to their requests.

In the dispatch center things can go from total boredom to total chaos in a matter of seconds, and the dispatcher must be able to handle the situation calmly.

Recently in Lompoc there were six vacancies in the dispatch center; of the 194 applicants, 110 failed the screening process and only 22 reached the final stage of the selection process. Six were ultimately hired.

There were 11 police officer vacancies at the end of 2019; the LPD actively recruited “lateral candidates” or individuals who had either completed the police officer academy or had two years’ experience in another department and could be put to work with minimal in-field training. Of the 59 applicants, 32 failed the screening process and only 1 was eventually hired.

The next category was police officer trainee/academy enrollee. These folks must complete the six-month academy, then receive a lengthy in-field training period before they are qualified work alone. Of the 263 people who applied, only five were eventually hired.

Finding qualified candidates is difficult. Some of the reasons potential candidates fail the initial background investigation concern a bad credit history and/or drug use which includes cannabis. Of course, the Lompoc City Council embraces the sale and use of cannabis in the city, which may be impacting the future job prospects of not only police officer candidates but other occupations as well.

Even though the Lompoc Police Department is on a path to filling all authorized police officer positions, retention is still a challenge. During a council briefing on March 3, the police chief said even though he was working hard to achieve full employment, two officers had recently notified the department that they were leaving the city.

The city of Lompoc pay scales for these positions are lower than surrounding jurisdictions, which is why so many officers leave and go elsewhere.

So, keeping a full complement of officers is a continuing challenge for Lompoc; many other cities have similar issues. Being a police officer or public safety dispatcher is both challenging and rewarding, however when you possess the skills and experience needed to be a successful police officer, why wouldn’t you try to earn the most money for your efforts?

— Ron Fink, a Lompoc resident since 1975, is retired from the aerospace industry and has been active with Lompoc municipal government commissions and committees since 1992, including 12 years on the Lompoc Planning Commission. He is also a voting member of the Santa Barbara County Taxpayers Association. Contact him at [email protected]. Click here to read his previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.



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Virginia Used Car Dealer Offers Local Drivers Reliable Pre-Owned Vehicles and Affordable Prices

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Used Cars Under $10,000 in Virginia

Karen Radley Volkswagen is offering local drivers a variety of used vehicles to choose from that are priced under $10,000, including capable SUV’s, versatile crossovers, fuel-efficient sedans and sporty coupes.

There are many ways for people to save money when shopping for the things they need and can’t live without. For many people, a vehicle that can offer them the reliability they need is incredibly important and something they require every day. Drivers in Virginia that are searching for affordable used cars under $10,000 now have a dealership they can turn to that will help them get behind the wheel of a reliable vehicle they can afford. Karen Radley Volkswagen is offering local drivers a variety of used vehicles to choose from that are priced under $10,000, including capable SUV’s, versatile crossovers, fuel-efficient sedans and sporty coupes.

With used car specials that offer affordable pricing and a large inventory of pre-owned vehicles that can be purchased for under $10,000, drivers will be able to find the vehicle they’ve always wanted to drive at a price that fits their budget. Karen Radley Volkswagen also helps make buying a reliable and budget-friendly used car easy by offering used car loans to drivers regardless of their credit score. Good or bad credit car loans are fast and easy to obtain and apply for when shopping at Karen Radley Volkswagen.

To learn more about how to get behind the wheel of an affordable used car in Virginia, or to view the current inventory of used cars under $10,000, drivers can visit the local dealership’s website by going to http://www.karenradleyvw.com. Questions can be directed towards the sales staff by calling 833-243-5895. Shoppers may also see all the used cars at Karen Radley Volkswagen by driving to 14700 Jefferson Davis Highway.

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Legislation to Combat Unfair Auto Insurance Rates Clears Committee

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Legislation to Combat Unfair Auto Insurance Rates Clears Committee

 

Trenton – In response to high automobile insurance assessments, the Senate Commerce Committee passed legislation sponsored by Senators Nia Gill, M. Teresa Ruiz, Nilsa Cruz-Perez, and Nellie Pou, which would prohibit the use of education, occupation, homeownership status, marital status, or credit score in certain automobile insurance determinations.

 

“The use of factors such as employment status and credit score in calculating insurance premiums carries a severe economic consequence for working-class families. A person’s income or education has no bearing on driver safety or risk and only serves to reinforce existing inequalities,” said Senator Gill (D-Essex/Passaic). “The pandemic has given new importance to how we determine eligibility. Millions of New Jerseyans are experiencing economic hardship; this will inevitably impact their credit scores, occupation, and employment status. This bill is critical to ensure people are not subject to increased premiums based on metrics that have nothing to do with driving, and it will ensure drivers are not subject to increased premiums based on unforeseeable consequences of the pandemic.”

 

The bill, S-111, would prohibit automobile insurers from assigning an insured or prospective insured person to a rating tier based on educational level, credit score, marital status, homeownership status, or employment, trade, business, occupation or profession.

 

“Newark has some of the highest car insurance rates in the country. Under our current laws car insurance companies are preying on New Jersey’s most vulnerable, charging low income customers significantly more regardless of their driving history. Every sponsor has done tremendous legwork to bring an end to this harmful practice. I am proud to have been a driving force in the final push to move this important legislation and to ensure it included prohibiting the use of credit scores,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “Insurers should be basing their rates on the likelihood that someone will be in an accident, not his or her ability to pay for those damages out of pocket.”

 

“It is absurd that someone with a bad credit score pays more for car insurance than someone who has been convicted of a DUI,” said Senator Cruz-Perez (D-Camden/Gloucester). “We cannot allow insurers to continue basing rates on credit history or socioeconomic status rather than someone’s driving record.”

 

“We must stop penalizing people for being poor,” said Senator Pou (D-Bergen/Passaic). “This legislation will hold insurance companies accountable and help to ensure that our most vulnerable citizens are given fair pricing for policies that are a requirement to drive.”

 

The bill would take effect 90 days after enactment.

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Reasons You Can Be Denied for a Bad Credit Auto Loan

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Everyone’s situation varies, but there are some circumstances that bad credit auto lenders simply don’t accept. To give you an idea of what to expect when you apply for a car loan, here’s what subprime lenders tend to require and what situations they don’t accept when determining your eligibility for auto financing.

Job Situations and Bad Credit Car Loans

First, it’s important to note that all lenders have different work, income, and even residency requirements. However, if you’re applying with a bad credit car lender, also known as a subprime lender, they tend to follow similar guidelines for who they’re willing to approve for auto financing.

When it comes to your work situation and what type of income you’re bringing in each month, there are some situations that subprime lenders simply don’t accept.

No Income at All

If you’re not bringing in any income from a job or any other type of assistance, expect to be turned down. Any car lender, bad credit or not, is going to need you to provide proof that you have a stable income.

Some subprime lenders can accept income such as alimony, permanent disability, pension, and even public assistance – if you can prove that you’re going to receive it for the entire duration of your auto loan term, that is.

To get into a car loan, you must have provable, consistent income that can support the auto loan the whole time you’re repaying it.

Sparse Work History

This requirement can vary, but borrowers who haven’t held down the same job for around six months to a year can often be turned down for a car loan. Auto lenders typically also require you to have consistent work history over the last three years.

Subprime lenders look for stability in your work history and employment. The longer you’ve held the same job in the same line of work, the higher your chances of getting approved for a car loan.

Brand-New Job

If you just started a job in a new field, then a subprime lender may be hesitant to approve you for financing. Subprime lenders prefer borrowers who’ve been at the same job for at least six months to a year.

However, if you recently switched employers but it’s in the same line of work, then they’re more likely to be understanding of that situation.

Living Situations and Bad Credit Auto Loans

Situations That Can Deny You a Bad Credit Car LoanAlong with having work and income requirements, subprime lenders also take a look at your residence history. While living situations can vary greatly, they are again looking for stability.

A stable borrower is one that is more likely to repay their auto loan. So, the longer you’ve been living in the same area, the higher your chances for an approval. However, just because you’ve lived in the same town for 20 years doesn’t always mean you meet the residency requirements.

Here are a few living situations that subprime lenders probably won’t accept:

You’re Not a Homeowner or a Renter

To meet residency requirements, most subprime lenders require that you’re a homeowner or a renter. If you’re a homeowner, you must prove your residency with a recent utility bill in your name, or maybe even a home title in your name if you don’t have any utilities in your name.

If you’re a renter, then your name must be on the lease. You should also expect to need a recent utility bill in your name to prove your residence. Some lenders may even require a copy of a lease agreement, a mortgage statement, or a copy of a house payment/rent check.

However, if you live with relatives or you live at an apartment where your name isn’t on the lease, then it could be more difficult to qualify for a car loan. Subprime lenders require that their borrowers have a permanent address, with documents that prove that you live there. If you don’t have any utilities in your name, or your name isn’t on a lease or mortgage statement, then you could run into trouble getting approved for auto financing.

You Don’t Have a Permanent Address

Some people live in RVs, or even hotels, to accommodate a nomadic lifestyle. While having the flexibility to move wherever you’d like at the drop of a hat suits many people, the sad news is that these unconventional ways of life aren’t likely to meet the requirements of a car lender. Since your address isn’t permanent, it can make a subprime lender hesitant to approve you for financing.

Other Requirements of Subprime Lenders

There could be many different reasons why a lender can deny you for an auto loan. To help you be best prepared, here’s a list of other common requirements of subprime lenders:

  • Must have a cell phone or landline phone in your name (no prepaid phones)
  • Have to make a down payment of at least $1,000 or 10% of the vehicle’s selling price
  • Bring a list of five to eight personal references with complete contact information
  • Must have a valid driver’s license with your current address

Subprime Lenders and Bad Credit Car Dealerships

If your credit is worse for wear, you’re likely to have a better chance of getting approved for a car loan if you apply with a subprime auto lender, since they consider more than just your poor credit score while they determine your eligibility for a car loan.

Where are subprime lenders? They’re signed up with special finance dealerships, and they are more prominent nowadays. Here at Auto Credit Express, we know what dealers are signed up with subprime lenders, and we can look for one in your area at no cost.

Fill out our free auto loan request form, and we’ll get right to work looking for a dealership near you with the bad credit lending resources you need.

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