The city’s police department soon will be looking for a few good men and women to add to the force.
The one requirement: They must have served in the United States military at some point since 2001.
The U.S. Justice Department on Monday awarded a Community Oriented Policing Services grant to the city. The three-year grant is for $727,000 and will cover the cost of hiring an additional seven officers, but police Chief Rod Foley said there is a stipulation in the grant stating that those hired with the funds must have served active duty in the military for six months since 2001.
The department just hired nine new officers in May and still are operating from that same civil service list of potential hires.
Foley said there are few, if any, veterans on that list, so the department will be actively recruiting former military personnel for the next round of potential candidates.
“We are hoping, tentatively, to get people who have those qualifications. This [hiring] list we have now expires later this year, and we don’t have too many meeting that criteria,” he said. “We have to make sure when we do our recruitment that we get that information out to people who meet the criteria and are interested in law enforcement.”
Foley said it is nice to have former military personnel on the candidate list because they are accustomed to taking orders and following a chain of command.
“They slide right into this field,” he said.
Hiring veterans under the grant, Foley said, is good because the grant can be used to pay their salary while they are going through police training. He said many military candidates will not have that training because they spent that time serving their country.
Foley has made it clear that 152 officers is the minimum number with which he can effectively run the department.
The hiring of the nine officers in May put the department at 152, but the chief said the grant will allow for the replacement of officers set to retire this year and a few additional officers to patrol the city.
“We felt that the 152 was the bare bones we could operate at without calling officers out for overtime or forcing officers to stay over,” the chief said. “We are trying to give ourselves stability in the patrol division, where we have officers available to answer calls for service and other officers to work those ‘hot-spot’ areas in the city.”
Newton Falls Police Department in Trumbull County also received $125,000 to hire one police officer under the grant.