By Jeff Gallatin
City officials expect to be able to give a sergeant’s test for the police department by late October.
Safety/service Director Scott Thomas said the North Olmsted Civil Service Commission will finalize details for the test in the next few weeks. In addition, he said, the department is continuing to work on bringing in two additional patrol officers.
“Giving the test by October is the most realistic time frame for getting that done,” Thomas said. “We still have to finalize the details, then post it so potential candidates can start to prepare for the test and take some time to study for it.”
The police department has been short a supervisor since former Capt. Mike Kilbane resigned in May to take the police chief’s job in Independence. Lt. Ron Cox, the detective bureau commander, was promoted to captain to replace Kilbane, but the department has remained short one supervisor.
Chief Jamie Gallagher and Cox have been handling many of the administrative duties, including having Cox continue to run the detective bureau. However, city officials said ultimately a new bureau commander will be appointed.
“We are going to take care of that, because Capt. Cox is a good officer, but he has more than enough to do, so we will need someone to handle administrative work within the bureau,” Thomas said. “This department has always prided itself on training people to be ready to take the next step into another position, so we have people who will be able to fill that position.”
Kilbane’s leaving came shortly after city officials announced plans to hire an additional three patrol officers to fill three already existing openings in the department. Thomas said the department would hire another officer to fill the opening Kilbane left on the personnel roster, and reiterated the department needs to bring in additional officers to fill out the patrol shifts.
“We need to take care of making sure we have the department properly staffed in terms of manpower,” Thomas said. “We’ve had some openings in the patrol division that we needed to deal with, and we are continuing to work on doing that.”
With the recent hiring of two patrol officers who have already been through the police academy, the department reduced the number of planned hires from four to two. Thomas said the two additional patrol officers still should be on board by later in the year. They will be hired from the candidates list created by the test given earlier this year.
“Right now we’re still working on background checks on the potential candidates,” Thomas said. “Those can take some time, so we’re looking at least a few more weeks.”
Gallagher said it helped the department that the first two officers hired had already been through academy training, and are currently undergoing departmental training, but added if the best candidates for the next two positions need to go to the academy, the department will be fine with that.
“We want the best two officers we can hire; if that means they need to go to the academy first, then that’s what we’ll do,” Gallagher said. “It’s all a part of the long-term process of bringing people into the department.”
Thomas also noted that the city has applied for federal funds, which could lead to two additional patrol officers being hired if North Olmsted is approved for the grant.