by Lisa Tome
A manpower shortage has pushed Rising Sun police chief Chip Peterson to think about things a little differently.
The chief said last week that he is considering hiring part time officers to bolster the full time service currently provided by department veterans George Vanaskey, Stephen McKinney, and Daniel Stickney.
Officer Dallas Herbert, who began working in the town December 31, 2013, is no longer on the force. No announcement has come regarding his departure. Sgt. Chris Tserkis also left within the last several months. Tserkis was with the department from August 2015 until March of this year.
"The hiring process is underway. We'll take applications until the vacancies are filled," said Chief Peterson.
He said that the hiring process for officers is an exhaustive one. Candidates need to have a free and clear criminal history, almost non-existent drug use history. "They also need to be emotionally stable and literate," said Peterson. “Officer background checks also include their driving record and credit history. They must also prove to be dependable and reliable and have good references," explained the chief.
"The starting salary is $40,000 but they have a take home car. Hiring is a difficult process, a slow process," said the chief. He also explained that town limits are less than a mile square. Young, motivated officers looking for excitement may want to work somewhere larger.
He said he is exploring the possibility of hiring officers who are already certified in Maryland on a part time basis until full time officers come on board. "That's something we're exploring. That would fill in the gaps until we can get people in place.”
During a budget work session in June, town officials budgeted to hire police officers in a staggered manner. They budgeted so that one who would come on board in August and earn $57,000 per year including benefits. A second officer would be hired six months into the new year and earn $29,000.