By Susan Tebben
Voters are getting what they wanted, as the final police officer to be hired from proceeds of a police levy starts work March 28.
Kevin Stratton, 27, is among the 10 hired by the Boardman Police Department under a 3.85-mil, five-year additional police levy passed in the August 2011 special election.
The levy, which generates about $3.8 million annually, was passed with promises by the township administration for hiring 10 officers, along with the equipment needed to get the officers on the road.
“We had some really great candidates, and we were able to fulfill this levy actually a little bit ahead of schedule,” said township Administrator Jason Loree.
The township started receiving levy money in March 2012. The starting annual salary for a police officer is $33,280, according to the Ohio Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association contract.
Along with Stratton, Richard Kridler, Shawn McClellan, Jacob Lape, Christopher Costas, Michael Calautti III, David Goetssche, Joe Olinger, David Sheely, Nick Antonucci and Bill Bowers were hired over the last two years after receipt of the levy. Stratton was hired because of a retirement during the two years that left the department one short.
“The unseen effect is the reduction of the amount of overtime our officers will have to take,” said Police Chief Jack Nichols. “We’re certainly more stable in the ranks of officers.”
With 57 officers on the force, counting Stratton, the department has to keep its force of dispatchers and respond to calls. The depart- ment is advertising for a new dispatcher because of a retirement, and other staff as well.
Nichols said the department is searching for a social-services case manager.
He hopes to have the job filled by the end of spring and begin working on programs for juveniles, seniors and victim advocacy.