Portland, ME Police Will Now Hire Past Pot Smokers

The Portland Police Department is getting attention for its new recruiting efforts -- not for who they're looking for, but for what they're looking past.

Using marijuana within the last five years is no longer a deal breaker.

"Society has changed," said Portland Police Chief Michael Sauschuck, who says he will consider an applicant's past pot use on a "case-by-case" basis.

"I'm looking at frequency, and recency," he said. "If you smoke a joint across the street and come in and apply, it's probably not going to work out for you. But if you smoked a couple times, 3 years ago, that shouldn't dictate who you are as a person. That doesn't mean you won't be a good police officer."

The other change to the policy is allowing non-citizens with green cards to apply. In the past, the department only considered U.S. citizens.

"In the United States military, it's the exact same standard...So if you can go out and serve our country, I think you can be a police officer in the city of Portland," said the chief.

He is so serious about the recruiting efforts, he has pulled a patrol officer off the streets and assigned her to oversee the hiring push full time. Officer Kate Phelan will be using social media and conducting in-person recruiting efforts to help the department get at least 12 new officers.

"We need good people," said Phelan. "We want to help people. That's an important quality, and that's something you just have within you."

The department is holding an open house Wednesday, April 4th, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

New hires will be eligible for a $10,000 signing bonus.

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