For the first time, the Portland police department will recruit new officers who are non-citizens and recent marijuana users – people who had been automatically disqualified in the past.
Non-citizens can qualify as long as they have been granted a permanent right to work in the United States. Applicants who have recently used marijuana will be considered on a case-by-case basis, the department said.
The changes are among several initiatives to fill vacant jobs at a time when police departments in Maine and around the country struggle to recruit new officers. Portland police also are dedicating an existing officer to be a full-time recruiter and are increasing cash bonuses for employees who bring in new recruits.
The new more-relaxed qualification standards were part of a broader rewrite of the city’s civil service ordinance passed in February that governs a range of police officer and firefighter hiring policies that were described as “badly outdated” in a letter to the city council by Police Chief Michael Sauschuck.
Removing the marijuana prohibition reflects a larger shift in attitudes toward the drug, including a