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In 1997 Bloomfield Township changed it’s process in documenting probationary

employees. For the first time, a probationary employee was not going to make

probation. He had to be let go from future employment. In doing so, the department

realized that there was no system in place to substantiate our evaluation process for our

new recruits. Employee relations consultant and author Ethan Winning states “Without

a process for evaluation, without documentation of performance, the legal pitfalls of

discrimination, prejudices and coercion are left wide open”(1996). Therefore, a

documented yearlong orientation and evaluation program had to be developed.

The process was developed by officers in the department and has been in place

for the last four years. The system contains an orientation of department materials and

tasks, daily evaluation sheets, monthly evaluation reports and three tests over the one-

year period (APPENDIX A: ORIENTATION MATERIAL). Also, a system of rotation

between units was put in place to have the new employee evaluated by all officers in

the department. Officers have the ability to report their observation of the rookie on an

inter-department computer file. This file is not shared with the rookie employee and is

used as an information tool between officers.

This one problem employee in 1996-97 helped change the attitude of many

officers. Making the command officers realize that employee evaluations are part of our

job duty. A very important job duty that has long term affects on the department. It is

part of an officer’s job to evaluate and have input into the type of employee we must

work and live with in the fire service. However, there are signs in the past few years we

may be taking the process for granted and forgetting its importance. Also, it is time that

our probationary employee system be evaluated, revised and up dated. There are


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