The Fairfield Police Department has seen several personnel changes in the past six months after several retirements had a domino effect of promotions and new hires.
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Currently, 59 of 61 police officer positions are filled, but only 54 of those officers count toward the department’s available manpower, said Police Chief Steve Maynard.
All new officers hired are on a required one-year probationary period. There are currently three officers riding along with field training officers, and another officer in the police academy. The department also made a conditional officer to another officer, who will go to the academy upon their acceptance.
Officers now working with field training officers include the recently hired Scotty Cook, Jacob Sons and Brianna Smith, all of whom took oaths of office Aug. 13. Charles Wycoff is expected to be next as he’s now in the police academy.
Maynard said he hopes to fill the last two slots by December, if not sooner.
“We’re still in the hiring process, looking at viable candidates,” he said. “And hopefully by the end of the year get some (more) people in the academy. We want to make sure we’re hiring the right people, so we are doing our due diligence.”
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The new hires filled vacancies created with recent promotions of officers. Dan Pohl and Aaron Meyer were promoted to sergeant following the promotions of Amy Mays and Greg Valandingham to major.
The promotions were made following retirements in the department’s leadership over the past several months.
Another significant change in the past several weeks came when City Council approved a change to designate the three lieutenants positions as majors, thus removing Maynard’s command staff from one of two Fairfield police unions. This impacted Ken Gerald, Valandingham and Mays.
“It was something I proposed to them,” said Maynard, “because as it stood before I was the only one on the police department that could really participate in (union) negotiations because the lieutenants were in a bargaining unit.”
That now makes the three newly minted majors able to participate in contract negotiations, and “I know have three other members of the command staff that can fill in for me because they are now non-union members.”
Fairfield Councilman Ron D’Epifanio, chair of the council’s safety committee, said Maynard has taken the police department “to the next level,” building on what retired police chief Mike Dickey had done over the previous 19 years.