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Port Orchard Police Department has hiring to do

Port Orchard may soon hire a new police officer.

The city needs one for several reasons, said Alan Townsend, Port Orchard’s police chief, at a work-study session for the city council on Tuesday.

“Calls for 2010 were up about 20 percent compared with 2009,” he said. “So far, comparing 2010 to 2011, we’re already up another 12 or 13 percent, year to date.”

That number could increase if the Bethel Corridor is successfully annexed into the city within the next several months, he said, although the call volume for the city of Port Orchard is about 25 percent higher than the Bethel area.

And several officers are confident that they’ll leave within the next several months.

“Our Army Reserve guy got orders for April,” said Townsend, although, “He’ll be back.”

Another officer plans to leave as soon as he can sell his house.

“His wife’s already taken a job in St. Louis,” said Townsend.

Hiring and training an officer to replace either of them will take about a year.

“It takes three to four months of hiring time, and then we’ve got about 7 to 8 months for field training,” he said.

The projected budget impact is about $77,000, which Townsend described as a “worst-case scenario,” for how much it could cost.

It includes the cost of new officer’s salary, body armor, weapons and training, but doesn’t count the potential offsets from an officer leaving.

“It’s revenue neutral,” said Mayor Lary Coppola.

None of the city council members opposed the idea in an unofficial survey at the end of the discussion.

Those interested in applying should contact Deborah Howard, the city’s human resources coordinator and civil service secretary at (360) 876-7014.

Applying is “a whole process,” she said. “First there’s testing, then an oral interview, and then another written test.”

About 20 applicants made it through when the Human Resources Department went through the hiring process for an open police officer job in December.

About 11 of those applicants were “laterals” who worked for another police department recently, and the other nine went through the process as entry-level applicants without recent experience.

The city of Port Orchard’s Human Resources Department will give priority to applicants who have already gone through the process, Howard said, but anyone who’s interested in the job is encouraged to apply.

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