SALINEVILLE-The understaffed and chief-less village police department has received a much needed shot in the arm .
Village council voted unanimously on Monday to hire Andrew M. Straley of Uniontown, as full-time police chief, and added Daniel Glad, of Howland, as a part-time patrol officer.
The hires were timely, as council also accepted Monday the resignation of patrol officer Matthew Herron, who left for a higher paying township position.
After a lengthy executive session called for police personnel matters, council members returned to the regular meeting to announce the decision before a sizable audience of crime-weary village residents eager for good news.
Mayor Mary Smith first asked council for a motion to hire Straley, then also requested council hire him as a full time chief able to work up to 48 hours per week. The position previously was 32 hours per week with a part time status. Council also stipulated that, as chief, Straley be given standard benefits, a $200 clothing allowance and a 60-day probationary period.
According to his resume, Straley is currently employed as a police officer with the Cleveland Metro Health Police Department, where he has worked since August 2012. Before that he was employed by the Uniontown Police Department. Straley has an associate's degree in public safety from Herzing University in Akron, and became OPOTA certified through the Kent State Police Academy in 2011.
Straley, who was in attendance, received an audible cheer as he walked to the front of village hall to address the crowd.
"I'm pleased to be here and I know it's going to be a work in progress," said Straley. "I'm sure you're all aware of the department's issues currently, so we're going to start small and work our way up so this department is built correctly."
Straley emphasized the process of rebuilding the village police department will take time, but he noted starting from scratch will allow the department to be formulated in the proper way.
"Obviously there's a lot of policies and things like that need written so we have to start out from the bottom," said Straley.
"I think he's going to do an excellent job and I know the town looks forward to working with you," said Smith. "One of the first responsibilities of the chief will be hire some more (officers)."
Council also amended legislation, which states the village police chief can only work part time. The amended legislation will allow Straley to work up to 48 hours per week at $13 an hour with benefits.
"I want to thank the public for being patient and working through everything we've been going through but we're moving forward and it's going to take everyone in the community working together," said Smith.