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LANCASTER HIRES NEW POLICE OFFICERS
By Gary S. Howell
Jul 8, 2003, 15:20
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The Lancaster Town Board approved a resolution to hire seven new police officers during their July 7th, 2003 meeting. Since the Police merger, more men retired than were expected. This caused what Police Chief Gary Stoldt described as a "scheduling nightmare".

Lancaster's Police are currently working 5 man shifts. Chief Stoldt stated that he needs at least 2 new officers per shift.

The unexpected retirements increased the amount of overtime pay. When the new officers complete training, overtime will decrease.

Based on prior experience, one of the officers will be able to assume his duties as soon as hired. Another officer will go on duty after he completes training programs required by the Town. Five of the new officers need to attend the Police Academy and town training programs before they can go out on the road.

Even though the department is short staffed, the number of calls being answered is on the rise. In January, February, and March, the police answered 2,937 complaints. In April, May, and June, the number of complaints rose to 4,724. The police responded to every complaint.

When the merger was proposed, it was estimated that if seven men retired, the remaining officers would be able to serve the needs of the community. Since the merger, twelve officers retired. The seven new hires will offset the retirees and the increase in complaints.

During the public comment session, several residents spoke in support of the resolution. Many of them praised Mr. Stoldt's managerial skills.

As the Board voted to approve the new hires, Council Member Mark Montour complimented the Chief. He described him as a throw-back - A department head who wouldn't ask his men to do anything he wouldn't do himself. Mr. Montour gave the following example: On the Fourth of July, Gary Stoldt patrolled on a bicycle along with his fellow officers.


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