Local News

Fayetteville Police Dept. Stands by its Hiring Policy

Posted May 27, 1998

— Christopher Young, the Fayetteville police officer who is now jailed on multiple rape charges, was on the force just eight months. Despite the charges against Young, the department stands by its applicant screening process.

Police say their screening system did not fail, that nothing was uncovered in their candidate evaluation that would make them believe Christopher Young would be charged with abusing his badge.

Before getting to graduation day, police officer candidates must pass a list of strict state requirements -- from background checks to physical and psychological evaluations.

Training Sergeant Robert Weathers says he thinks the department has a very good hiring record, and that Fayetteville takes its screening process a step further, requiring a computer voice stress tests. Young passed every requirement.

"It is quite surprising you can miss something," says Weathers. "I don't know if we missed anything. We received nothing in the investigation to indicate that person would turn out like that."

Dr. Elizabeth Chandler often screens Police candidates for positions within FPD. She says it is common for people in positions of power to try to use that power to their advantage. Therefore, as part of their psychological testing, psychologists test candidates for any signs of that.

"Do they think it's okay to take advantage of the system just to get ahead?" is one of the questions Dr. Chandler says is asked to determine motivation for seeking the job. "Do they think it's okay to bend the rules to their advantage 'just because?'"

In the case of Christopher Young, police believe he was one bad apple -- somebody who slipped through the cracks. Over his eight months on the force, Young is known to have come into contact with at least 200 women, all of whom are being sought by the police department. The woman filing the most recent charge was never arrested by Young, and police say they have no idea how many others they are in her position.

Chandler says there is never one factor that can be singled out that will identify a certain type of person who might do what Young is accused of.

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