New officer first hired through Lateral Entry Program; three additional officers going through traditional hiring process
The newest Kokomo Police Department recruit will be sworn-in on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. The public is invited to witness the induction ceremony for Zachary Griffith, age 29, will be formally inducted at 10 a.m. Griffith is the first of four officers going through the hiring process and the first officer hired under the Kokomo Police Department’s Lateral Entry Program.
In March, the Kokomo Police Department changed its hiring policies to include the Lateral Entry Program, which allows for a direct hire from applicants with previous law enforcement experience.
Mayor Greg Goodnight said the program has tremendous value when looking to add additional officers.
“The premise of the program is to recognize the value of those applicants who have law enforcement experience,” Goodnight said. “We did this with the hope of producing a larger and more diverse list of candidates. Lateral hires represent an effective avenue to get new officers on the job and on the streets in a timely manner.”
All applicants wanting to be considered must possess a current Indiana Law Enforcement Academy Certification or a State/Federal Certification accepted through the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy. The candidate will be required to successfully complete an accelerated Field Training Program lasting approximately three months. All applicants accepting employment through the lateral entry program will be considered “Probationary Officers” for the first year of service.
“The benefit to our department is really based on the time it takes to get a new officer on the street,” Kokomo Police Chief Robert Baker said. “This will allow us to put officers on the street three to four months sooner than if we would have to send an officer to the Law Enforcement Training Academy, because the officer would have successfully completed those academy requirements.”
Griffith began his law enforcement career as a patrol officer for the Logansport Police Department in 2016. Griffith, raised in Logansport, served in the United States Marine Corps, where he served two combat tours in Afghanistan.
The other three officers are going through the traditional hiring process before heading to the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy.