SUCCESSION PLANNING: Saline City Council OKs Chief Hart's Request for Additional Officer

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The ranks of the Saline Police Department should soon swell by two officers.

Saline City Council voted 7-0 for Police Chief Jerrod Hart's request to approve the hiring of an additional officer this year. The police department was in the process of recruiting an officer when a second candidate became available, according to Hart. Detective Bill Sanford is completing background checks this week.

Hart asked council to amend the budget and allow the SPD to hire both candidates, who each have experience in law enforcement. One has been an officer since Jan. 1 and the other has four years of experience.

"We find ourselves a very unique position right now to have two very qualified candidates for the position of police officer," Hart told council.

He said the department was authorized to have 15 sworn officers in the ranks.

Answering a question from Mayor Brian Marl, Hart said both candidates could be on board by early September.

"It would be our understanding that we'd be a little top heavy and then not replace the next officer who retires or leaves?" Marl asked of Hart.

"That is correct," Hart said.

Councillor Janet Dillon thanked Chief Hart for bringing the opportunity to council.

"Succession planning issues have been my battle cry for a long time," Dillon said.

The move allows younger officers to gain experience and learn from the remaining veteran officers before they leave the ranks.

Chief Hart said succession planning is one of the goals enumerated in the department's ongoing strategic planning efforts. He thanked  City Manager Colleen O'Toole's interest in the department's succession plan.

Councillor Kevin Camero-Sulak also praised the succession planning effort.

"I think it's a role model for the rest of our departments," he said.

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