Coal City's new police patrol officer has reported for training.
Heather Wandt arrived at the Police Training Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on Sunday to begin a 12-week, 480-hour basic law enforcement course.
Completion of the course is required of all new police officers in the state of Illinois and includes instruction in firearms and control tactics, communications, community policing, drivers training and physical fitness.
During PTI, Wandt will have the opportunity to engage in several optional training programs including police Spanish, animal related crimes, juvenile specialist and patrol rifle. She can also obtain certification through the National Incident Management System, Law Enforcement Agency Data System and Illinois Wireless Information Network.
The extra course work provided during PTI saves the local department time and money on advanced training for the new officer.
Wandt was one of nearly 100 individuals to take the written police exam administered by COPS Testing Service on behalf of the village's Board of Fire and Police Commissioners.
The top 30 candidates were called back for an oral interview with the testing service and commission. Wandt's scores for both placed her at the top of the final eligibility list.
Scores for the 28 individuals on the list ranged from Wandt's 95.4 to 79.3. Credit, five points each, were given to those with a college degree or military service, there were 24 earning additional points.
Following some more testing including a psychological exam, medical check and polygraph the new officer was officially hired by the commissioners.
Police Chief Tom Best said he's looking forward to having Wandt on staff.
"My initial impression is that she's very professional, dedicated to the field of law enforcement and looking forward to beginning a long-term career in policing," Best said.
Upon completion of PTI in September, Wandt will report for regular shifts. She will spend several months working with her field training officer, Dave Moran. The chief will also have her riding along with other officers so she can experience different styles of policing and gain an understanding of the special assignments the officers have. Best expects Wandt to be patrolling on her own by early 2014.
Wandt is slated to be officially be sworn in at the Coal City Village Board's meeting on July 22.