The Corbin Police Department has hired four new officers, and Chief Rusty Hedrick said that brings it up to full force.
At the regular monthly meeting of the Corbin City Commission Monday night, Hedrick announced that the addition of Caleb Hester, William Stewart, Estes Rhodes and Justin Walker would give the department 19 officers.
“That is considered fully staffed at this point,” Hedrick said.
Hedrick said 33 individuals took the most recent police exam to work at Corbin and 11 of those individuals were granted interviews by the personnel committee.
Each of the new officers must attend the 23-week police academy.
When commissioners asked Hedrick when that would happen, he replied that it would likely be January before they could begin.
However, that does not mean the new officers will not be on duty.
Hedrick said they are scheduled to begin work in early July.
Each new officer would be assigned to work with a field training officer, working the same shift as the veteran officer.
“They will shadow the FTO for the first part and then as they get comfortable and learn, the training officer will allow the recruit to work the calls,” Hedrick said adding the new officers will have the opportunity to work wrecks and answer complaints.
While Corbin has previously been seen as a stepping stone with officers eventually moving on to larger departments, Hedrick, who was promoted to chief in February, said one of his goals is to change that.
“We want to make this a place they can call home,” Hedrick said.
With new officers in place, Hedrick said the next things on his list include the purchase of in-car computers and external vest carriers.
Hedrick said the external vest carriers fit over an officer’s uniform, allowing the officer to wear the bulletproof vest outside the uniform.
“It is made out of uniform material and the bulletproof vest goes into it,” Hedrick explained. “That way the bulletproof vest can be removed when the officer is at the station.”
Hedrick said he is continuing to emphasize the philosophy of “community-oriented policing” to his officers, adding they will be more visible at local events such as those held downtown, along with football and Little League games.
“We have good equipment, good vehicles, good men and women,” Hedrick said. “They are excited to get out and are willing to embrace the community-oriented policing philosophy,” Hedrick said.