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peak levels in the first few days on the job (Singer, 1990). Therefore, every new recruit

should have documented statements in their evaluation books about how they are

performing on the job, especially in their first few months. Officers within the

department felt that as the new employee progresses through their probationary year,

the need to document in the evaluation book was not needed on a daily basis.

This study indicated that communication is a problem. On many occasions new

recruits were handed back their daily evaluation books with no verbal communication as

to what was written by the evaluator. Whether the comments were positive or negative,

the recruit was on his own to decipher the intended meaning. Also, a time frame was

often a hindrance to the process. Many recruits give the evaluator their book just prior

to going off duty. This is not the best time to recall events of the past shift and many

times the evaluator rushes to “do something” in the book. The study also found that

there were officers who did communicate comments back to the recruit. Who properly

documented the actions, abilities and attitude of the recruit and conveyed statements

back to them. This type of involvement was seen as very beneficial to the recruit. The

communication was positive (even if correcting a negative action), constructive and felt

that it helped the recruit perform better. It is this type of officer who obviously meets the

standards in the industry of an evaluation process (Freemantle, 1999).


The Bloomfield Township Fire Department recognizes the importance of a

probationary employee evaluation system that benefits the employee and the

department. The following changes to our present system are recommended in order to


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