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MPD welcomes new officers
MARYSVILLE — Like others, he wasn’t sure how long its been since the city’s police force was fully staffed, but department Public Information Officer Cmdr. Ralph Krusey said it has been some time.
That time came to an end during the Sept. 22 City Council meeting as Mayor Dennis Kendall swore in three cadets fresh from the police academy.
After the third new rookie had formally joined the force, the city reached its goal of having 53 commissioned officers, a figure that Krusey said encompasses the entire department, from the new patrolmen up to Chief Rick Smith.
“This doesn’t happen by accident,” Kendall said, holding out special recognition for the police department’s human resource team and training officers.
As the new officers were sworn in, Smith noted he knew eight months ago that the city would be hiring eight new officers. He felt that was a daunting task, but noted the department actually found nine new members.
While no one seemed exactly sure how long police had been understaffed, Krusey said the department began looking to grow in earnest in the middle of 2007 when City Council authorized the creation of six new positions on the department. At that point, police already had about two open positions, Krusey added.
“The mayor and City Council have been very, very supportive of the police department,” Krusey said.
He added that in the last eight years the department has moved from 32 members to the current 53 and that adding a few new police every year left the department at least somewhat continually playing catch-up in terms of hiring. If the city moves forward, as planned, with annexing its Urban Growth Area sometime next year, police undoubtedly will find themselves in hiring mode once more.
At present, the city estimates its UGA comes complete with a population of over 19,000. Various city officials have said police may have to add up to 11 new officers to handle the inevitable increases in calls for service.
Krusey said police officials already are looking into what the department’s specific needs might be following annexation, hoping to have a good understanding of the situation by the middle of next year.