Trustees swore in three new police officers Monday, bringing them close to fulfilling their 2011 levy promise to hire 10 police officers within two years.
Richard Kridler, 25, of North Lima; Shawn McClellan, 26, of Campbell; and Jacob Lape, 24, of Boardman; formally joined the department after receiving conditional offers of employment in November.
The three officers join four officers hired earlier in fall 2012: Christopher Costas, Michael Calautti III, David Goettsch and Joe Olinger.
A year before, David Sheely, Nick Antonucci and Bill Bowers were hired in the department shortly after 56 percent of township voters approved a 3.85-mill, five-year additional police levy in an August 2011 special election.
The police levy generates about $3.8 million annually.
Although 10 new police officers have been hired since the levy passage, Trustee Thomas Costello said the department had one retirement in that same time period.
“We are planning to make one more hire to replace that retirement,” Costello said.
The board expects to make an offer to an officer candidate in February and will at that time officially fulfill its levy promises, he added.
“We will fulfill that obligation before two years of the date that the levy was approved, let alone when we received the money,” Costello said.
The township began receiving police-levy money in March 2012.
The starting annual salary for a police officer is $33,280 annually. After year one, that salary increases to $35,780, and then $37,780 after two years, according to the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association patrol-union contract.
The current contract calls for a three-year wage and step freeze, but new hires are exempt from the step freeze, township officials have said.
The next goal, Costello said, is to have a juvenile-diversion program in place by May.
Trustee Larry Moliterno, who also is chief executive of local addiction-treatment organization Meridian Community Care, is coordinating with local judges and the county juvenile justice officials to coordinate the new program, Costello said.
“As soon as we get our next officer hired, then we will start that next process. We would like to have whoever is hired in diversion start before the end of this school year,” he said.