By Kristin Bednarski
Amelia Police Chief David Friend stressed to council members the need for another full-time police officer during the Oct. 23 council meeting.
Friend announced that a part-time officer resigned and that they would be losing another part-time officer next month.
“We have narrowed the field of new people,” Friend said about replacing the officers.
Friend said the Field Training Officer training requirements must be completed with full-time officers before the new part-time officers can be on duty by themselves.
“We cannot shortcut FTO training,” Friend said. “It is very important we do that.”
Friend said the training is time consuming, and the two officers would not be ready to be on duty until the middle of April, and that is if everything goes according to plan.
“If you would ever entertain a motion to hire a full-time officer, now would be the time,” Friend said to council members.
Friend said they have two part-time officers that would be interested in a full-time position, and the only way he would decide would be to put the officers through testing and an interview process so it would be fair.
“If we start the process now, it will be probably after the first of the year that we could say we are going to have another full-time officers,” Friend said.
Friend said the call volume and workload at the police department has not decreased, and with only three full-time officers he said they have been having to work beyond their required hours.
“You’ve got full-time doing overtime and part-time doing overtime,” Friend said.
He said they also have a part-time officer who works nearly 40 hours a week already.
Councilwoman Renee Gerber made a motion to begin the process of hiring a full-time officer after hearing from Chief Friend.
Her motion was turned down by council members and did not go to a vote.
“I think we need to look at if we have the money first,” Councilman Chuck Thacker said.
Thacker also suggested putting a police levy back on the ballot soon to ensure the funds are available.
“We’re treading water over here,” Friend said. “Just keep that in mind. I don’t want to sink the ship.”
Councilman Derrick Campbell asked Friend to attend the next finance meeting in November so they could crunch numbers and determine what they could recommend to council members.
Gerber said Friend could begin the process if they passed a motion at the meeting.
“In that month that is going to pass by, he could have them tested,” Gerber said.
She said Friend has more than doubled the revenue of the police department since he has been in the village and should be allowed a new officer if he needs one.
“I am concerned about the safety of my citizens,” Gerber said. “I don’t want to sit up here and not support our police department.”
Mayor Todd Hart stepped in after several minutes of discussion.
“I can feel the urgency,” Hart said. “I need to know the numbers. I feel it is going to be there, but I don’t exactly know.”
Hart said they can plan on making a decision at the next council meeting, after the finance committee has gone over all of the numbers.
“If we need to we can have a special meeting,” Hart said.