Tiffin to consider adding police

Members of Tiffin City Council Personnel and Labor Relations Committee agreed to have the full council vote on allowing the hiring of two new police officers.

During a meeting Monday, Police Chief Fred Stevens said the authorized strength of the police department was 31 and hiring two new officers would bring the ranks to 29. He said two police officers also can retire this year, so the new hires would maintain the total of 27.

Mayor Aaron Montz said the budget has improved and the city can afford to add the officers to the understaffed department.

Considering the 60 percent decrease in crime in the past year, he said more officers could continue that trend. They also would help with combating drug use in the city, he said.

The additional officers also could assist in enforcing downtown parking time limits, Montz said.

Councilman Jim Roberts was supportive of hiring the new officers as soon as possible, though he did not want trained officers enforcing parking limits and said council should consider hiring a civilian to manage the time limits.

The committee agreed to have Law Director Brent Howard prepare legislation for the hiring of the officers and have it read before council.

Considering the possible retirements in the next few years, Councilman Joe Hartzell said he did not want a domino effect of hiring a group of officers at one time and said it would better serve the community if the hires were staggered over the course of several years.

The committee also discussed the age requirement for the civil service test for former military personnel.

Stevens said he and the administration discussed changing the age for honorably discharged military personnel to take the test from 35 to 39.

Changing the city’s ordinance for veterans would remove the need for a waiver and therefore the city would not have to set a precedent or make exceptions, Stevens said.

He also said the minimum of years to receive a pension was 15, meaning most veterans would serve for at least 15 years on the force.

All new hires also would be required to maintain physical fitness and could be terminated after a year and a half if the test is not passed in that time period, he said.

Howard said giving preference does not violate age discrimination laws as the city would not be discriminating against a protected class.

The committee requested legislation be prepared for council’s consideration to increase the age limit for veterans on the civil service test.