The selection process involved all 12 candidates taking a written test of 161 questions including five essay questions, based on information contained in two publications on police supervision and the department’s policies and procedures. After compiling the test results, the number of candidates dwindled down to six.
The next phase involved going through an extensive oral examination conducted by police supervisors from other departments and a civilian from outside the community. In addition, the process included points given for experience and three years of performance evaluations, as well as points from the police chief based on a peer evaluation exercise.
“We had a great pool of candidates for this process; any one of them would make a great supervisor. This process was real tough and Norm excelled and finished on top. His leadership qualities and experience will enable him to provide the high quality of supervision we maintain here at the Hazelwood Police Department,” Chief Wolf stated.
Officer Mars began working for the Hazelwood Police Department (HPD) as a part-time dispatcher in April 1992. About a year later, he had to seek employment elsewhere due to the reversal of Hazelwood’s first annexation. In April 1995, Mars was rehired as a full-time dispatcher while he attended the Eastern Missouri Police Academy on a part-time basis. Three years later, he graduated to become a certified police officer.
In May 1999, the HPD assigned him to the Neighborhood Patrol Team as a police officer. He was later re-assigned to the Traffic Unit when it was established in 2005. Officer Mars is a field training officer, specializing as an instructor in the fields of impaired driver detection, breath alcohol testing, and the proper use of standardized field sobriety tests. He is also an accident investigator and reconstructionist.
In addition to being a member of HPD’s motorcycle team and serving as coordinator of the Greater St. Louis Police Motor Squad, Officer Mars has participated in several community events such as the annual Hazelwood Harvestfest parade, Ballwin Days parade, Webster Groves Community Days, and the Bikers for Babies Motorcycle event. In December 2010, he was elected as secretary of the Regional Traffic Safety Council.
Some of his most noteworthy accomplishments include the following:
- In August 2001, he received special recognition for the recovery of a weapon used and arrests made in a subject threatening another person by flourishing a handgun.
- In April 2002, he received a Heroism Award for his actions in disarming a distraught subject threatening to kill himself and his mother.
- In April 2008, he served as an instructor for the HPD’s Citizen Police Academy.
Additionally, his acumen as an instructor includes teaching classes at the St. Louis County & Municipal Police Academy on Standard Field Sobriety Testing. He also taught classes at Hazelwood West High School on accident reconstruction and the importance of using mathematics and physics in solving how a vehicle accident occurred.
Officer Mars has received many letters of thanks and commendations during his years of service with the HPD. He is not only an asset to the police department, but to the City and residents he serves.