Chief Hupp addresses committee

Members approve temporary hire of new police officer to cover lapse

Marietta Chief of Police Rodney Hupp addressed Marietta City Council’s Police and Fire Committee Thursday to request a temporary expansion of his staff.

Council members present ultimately blessed the temporary additional hire of a new police officer in order to prevent a long lapse between an anticipated retirement this year and that new officer’s end of training.

Hupp explained Thursday that he has two candidates coming into his final open slots from 2018, already trained and ready for duty but his third candidate qualified by civil service exam to take on an anticipated vacancy this summer still needs to attend police academy training.

“But what we’re seeing not only in this area or state but across the country is fewer academies being offered because of a tremendous drop in enrollment,” explained Hupp.

He said the ideal location previously offered through Washington State Community College is not being offered at present and the closest and best option for training is with the Ohio State Highway Patrol Academy in Columbus.

He said that academy operates at no tuition cost to the city, nor a cost for room and board, simply an equipment supply cost and some funding for travel reimbursement for the officer.

He noted with two officers leaving the city’s employ in mid-summer and late fall last year the city saved approximately seven months worth of wages that could offset the cost of the temporary addition.

Councilman Steve Thomas, chair of the committee, said he sees the temporary addition in a similar fashion to council’s recent blessing of overlap within the city’s fire department.

“We’re sending a guy to school there so that by the time the person he’s replacing retires this year we don’t have a gap in that minimum number of people on any shift,” explained Thomas.

Council intends to introduce and potentially vote upon the legislation to authorize the hire next week at its regular business meeting.