February 16, 2011 | 08:57 AMWalworth — There will be four new cops patrolling village streets.
On Monday night, the Village Board approved hiring four part-time police officers, all of whom will work less than 600 hours annually and won't receive benefits.
For training purposes, Walworth Police Chief Chris Severt said the officers start dates will be staggered. However, he expects two of the officers to be on patrol by March. The other two should be on the roads by May.
Hiring additional officers doesn't mean the village is going have more cops on the streets.
During the budget process, the village eliminated a three-fourths time position — that officer worked 32 hours a week and received benefits. When the village eliminated that position, it planned to fill patrol hours with four part-time officers.
Deputy Clerk and Treasurer Lisa Rogers said the change saved the village about $8,000 annually.
Severt said there is an additional benefit from the change other than the cost savings. With more part-time officers, the village can pull from a larger pool of employees to fill shifts.
Although the village only advertised for three part-time positions — it was assumed the three-fourths time officer would work part-time — the village had 36 applicants.
From that pool, Severt said 20 of the applicants were given a written test for the position. Twelve candidates passed the test and were interviewed by Severt, Lt. Andy Long and officer Steve Sigmund.
That group was whittled down to six and those applicants were interviewed by the General Service Committee. The top four candidates were eventually offered positions.
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The new hires are:
n Robert Hall, a sergeant with the Walworth County Sheriff's Department.
n John Kirsch, a part-time park ranger with the Department of Natural Resources.
n Jesse Smith and Daniel Essington, who are accepting their first law enforcement jobs.
With the new hires the village now has seven part-time police officers. There are also six full-time officers, including Severt and Long.