Law Enforcement Employer Panel

Aubrianna Martinez, Reporter

Bakersfield College held a webinar on April 21 for local law enforcement titled Law Enforcement Employer Panel to give students interested in applying an overview of what is required and a better idea of the type of jobs in the various departments.


BC’s professor of criminal justice Pat Smith hosted the webinar which featured the school’s dean of instruction for the public safety pathway Lora Larkin, and six members from various branches of local law enforcement. 


Each law enforcement officer showed a presentation that explained to attendees the minimum educational requirements necessary for applying to law enforcement departments, the application process, and the training expected of applicants.


Specific requirements can be found on the respective websites for each department as some vary, but all departments required applicants to be at least 18 or 19-years-old depending on the department, and have a high school diploma or equivalent at the time of applying.


Additionally, the offices mentioned programs available for people who want to try their hand at working in various departments. Kern County Probation Department background investigator Officer Adriana Menchaca mentioned that there are internships available within her department for students enrolled in internship classes.


Correctional Counselor 1 Officer Idania Mondragon stated that the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation does not have an internship program but encourages those who are at least 18-years-old “to apply for the department as an office assistant for seasonal clerks, or for student assistants to get in and get experience.” 


Menchaca explained that the Probation Department “hire[s] based on our department’s need for the following positions. […] We currently have the juvenile corrections officer position open and available on our county website.”


She offered tips for attendees interested in applying for the required interviews, “research the department and the position you’re applying for, be prepared to answer any scenario-based questions. Remember to always think of safety and security, depending on what you’re applying for,” Menchaca said.


The Kern County Sheriff’s Office’s Senior Deputy Roger Walden and Deputy Jennifer McNeal stated that their office is always looking for applicants for the dispatcher position, “you start off as a dispatch assistant unless you’ve got extensive experience as a dispatcher,” she said. 


Mondragon briefed attendees on the operations of a correctional counselor and shared a video that explored the rigor of the application process and background checks for law enforcement applicants for the well-being of community members, department staff, and inmates as well.


When asked about gun training Sergeant Chris Feola from the Bakersfield Police Department answered “we don’t offer any kind of training for firearms and we actually like it if you don’t have any gun knowledge. If you do have gun knowledge and you come out and qualify, then great. But we want people to not have any bad habits when you come out, and that way you can learn how to do it the way we do,” he stated.


McNeal added that the sheriff’s academy includes a firearms course but seconded Feola, “they do like if you have never shot before,” she said.


On the subject of how to tell if a career in law enforcement is for someone, Feola advised researching what position they are interested in and to start preparing for it early by training to be physically and mentally in shape, brushing up their reading and writing as well as public speaking skills.


“It’s kind of a calling to do this job. It’s not something I take lightly,” he stated.