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Lebanon police seek to bolster ranks
Oct 16, 2012 4:00 pm
Lebanon police plan to seek city council approval Tuesday to split the cost of a new patrol officer with the Lebanon Housing Authority.
The new officer would serve as a backup officer assigned to patrol public housing areas, according to Lebanon police Chief Scott Bowen.
Currently, the Lebanon Police Department has one officer assigned solely to patrol and respond to Lebanon’s public housing areas.
Bowen cites favorable reviews of the additional attention paid by the department to the public housing areas.
“We’ve gotten really good feedback,” said Bowen. “I had a woman call to tell me should could finally go to bed at night and feel safe…It’s probably one of the best things we’ve done in the 20 years that I’ve been here.”
The current officer’s salary and benefits are funded by the Lebanon Housing Authority, according to Bowen.
If the ordinance in front of city council Tuesday was approved, the city would enter into a community-based policing agreement with the housing authority. Under this agreement, the city and the housing authority would each pay 50 percent of the total salary and benefits for the additional officer.
Bowen is also seeking council approval Tuesday to fill three vacancies left by recent personnel changes in the department.
Detective Bonnie Wells retired in September, so Bowen is seeking council permission to promote a current patrol officer to fill the position. He also hopes to gain approval to begin the hiring process for a replacement patrol officer and a replacement part-time dispatcher. The department’s previous part-time dispatcher was promoted to full-time following the retirement of the former full-time dispatcher.
Bowen anticipates the promotion and hiring processes to take from a month to six weeks if the council approves his requests.
The Lebanon Police Department currently has a staff of 74, with four officers’ positions paid for entirely – including all benefits – by a federal grant received by the department in 2010.
Staff writer Sara McManamy-Johnson can be reached at 615-444-3952, ext. 16 or email@example.com.