POINT PLEASANT — Officers of the Point Pleasant Police Department recently approached the Point Pleasant City council with some concerns.
Police Cheif Joe Veith explained the Point PD recently lost two officers, making it to where they had five active officers including him. Veith shared two new officers are currently at the police academy and on Monday a full-time officer from Madison County will begin. He explained he is able to hire the new officer on an emergency basis because of being short handed. Veith said the new officer will need to pass a non-competitive exam within 90 days. Also, he shared four individuals are interested in being hired as part-time officers.
Veith stated a new police schedule will be available on Monday and Point Pleasant will have 24/7 coverage. He said at times there may only be one officer on duty.
“My job and commitment is to the city of Point Pleasant and its residents here,” said Veith.
Veith then discussed with council an opening meeting held in June where Point PD officers and council were present. He said at this meeting there was a discussion on how to make becoming a Point PD officer more attractive to new hires and incentives to keep these hires on the roster. Veith discussed a few options such as increasing salary and also letting officers keep a cruiser at their homes. He asked the council members if they could put this issue back on the table.
Mayor Brian Billings shared he informed Veith at the June meeting the issue would be discussed again in September. He assured Veith the issue will be addressed before the conclusion of the month.
Councilman Gabe Roush and City Clerk Amber Tatterson added since the fiscal year had recently started, they asked for further discussion in September to see what type of funding would be available.
Billings commented he, along with the council, the clerks, the attorney, all who work in the city office on a day to day basis are pro-police. He said since he has been at the city office, all have worked to help within their power and reason to support their men in blue.
Sgt. J.D. Reynolds commented increasing pay for officers and letting them take home cruisers would be appealing to new hires as it is appealing to him.
“You can’t keep people from leaving, but you can help make them stay,” said Reynolds.
Reynolds explained senior officers who are nearing retirement do not have many more years to serve and the new officers hired need incentive to stay, so the Point PD can still have seasoned officers.
Lt. Matt Taylor added the younger hires are in search of positions with the highest pay and will go elsewhere after training should they find a higher paying position. Also, Sgt. Bryan Morrow addressed concerns of the state retirement initiative, explaining the new hires can take their accrued retirement with them should they leave.
Billings explained though he and the council have done and will continue to do everything within their power to help the police department with their retirement and pay raises, he and the council can only give within the means they have available.
More on the recent council meeting will be in an upcoming edition.
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.