Sanford PD recruiting puts applicants through the paces

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SANFORD, Fla. - Sanford's police department welcomed 10 new officers Tuesday.

Eyewitness News was there to see how the hiring process works.

Candidates took agility tests, written exams and did some live role playing.

The behind-the-scenes glimpse, offered a better understanding of what it takes to serve and protect the city of Sanford.

Sanford's police department has had problems with its reputation in the past.

The department has been under scrutiny since Trayvon Martin's death.

Police Chief Cecil Smith, who took over in February, hopes the latest class of officers will help restore the community's trust and confidence.

"The way you talk to the people out on the streets makes a huge difference," Officer Pedro Rivera of Sanford Police Department said.

Rivera had been watching the group of 23 potential officers run an obstacle course hoping to make the cut.

The decision makers are looking for more than just physical ability.

"Everything we do here in the process, besides the running, we're watching for how they act in the background," Rivera said.

Sanford PD is losing 10 officers, mostly because of retirement, and it wants a full force.

The department has tailored an obstacle course to what officers may encounter in Sanford versus patrolling in a different city.

"When you're under stress, your true colors come out. We want to make sure we're hiring people who know how to handle themselves in stressful situations," said Shannon Cordingly, Sanford PD public information officer.

Recruiters said most importantly, they want to see teamwork.

"We want people who are going to be compassionate," Cordingly said.